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Sino-African Trade to Hit US$50b
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Trade between China and African countries is expected to surpass US$50 billion in 2006, a Ministry of Commerce official said on Wednesday.

Zhou Yabin, director of the ministry's West Asia and North Africa Department, said Sino-African cooperation had great potential as their economies were complementary.

The Chinese government had abided by the principle of developing trade and economic relations with Africa based on equality, mutual benefit and common development, he said.

By the end of 2005, China has established more than 800 enterprises in Africa involving a total investment of 6 billion dollars. It had investment agreements with 28 countries and its engineering projects covered the construction, petrochemical, power, culture, education, health and food processing sectors.

Over the past half century, China had offered economic aid to 53 African countries and 10.9 billion yuan (1.36 billion dollars) in debt relief to 31 African countries.

Customs statistics show Sino-African trade amounted to US$39.7 billion in 2005, up 35 percent from the previous year. Fifty years ago, bilateral trade was only 12 million dollars.

In the first six months, Sino-African trade totaled 25.6 billion dollars, up 41 percent from the same period last year.

China's exports to Africa stood at 11 billion dollars in the first half, up 30 percent from the same period last year, while imports came to US$14.6 billion, a rise of 51 percent.

During the third ministerial meeting of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, to be held here from Nov. 3 to 5, participants will discuss major international issues and review cooperation over the past five decades.

(Xinhua News Agency October 19, 2006)

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