Business representatives from the four African countries of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Mali have been given free booths at China's largest trade fair - the Canton Fair - in an attempt to promote China-Africa trade relations.
"Apart from inviting African business representatives to the fair, we will also launch promotional campaigns to help African products enter the Chinese market," said Xu Bing, deputy secretary general of the fair.
It is the first time the 50-year-old Canton Fair, now formally known as the "China Import and Export Fair", has featured an import section.
In recent years, China's imports from African countries have increased dramatically due to a huge rise in oil imports. In late 2003, it also removed tariffs on 190 commodities imported from the 25 most undeveloped African countries, such as Tanzania, Zambia and Mali.
At the China-Africa Cooperation Forum last year, China announced that 442 commodities from Africa would be exempt from tariffs, covering almost all the products exported to China.
Last year, China exported US$26.7 billion worth of commodities to Africa and imported US$28.8 billion worth of products.
The biannual Canton fair is held in Guangzhou every spring and autumn. The last fair attracted 192,691 buyers from 212 countries and regions.
(Xinhua News Agency April 18, 2007)