The Chinese government will grant some African countries tariff-free treatment for their exports to China, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing announced in Addis Ababa at the Second Ministerial Conference of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum on Monday.
"China has decided to exempt import tariffs for certain commodities of these countries so as to facilitate their entry into the Chinese market. Negotiations to this end will begin in 2004," the Chinese foreign minister said.
The measure to be taken is aimed at helping the least developed countries in Africa expand export, increase revenue and alleviate poverty, Li said.
The Chinese government will take some other measures within the framework of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum to enhance the cooperation, including pumping more resources into the African Human Resources Development Fund and stepping up cooperation in tourism by encouraging more Chinese citizens to travel to Africa.
Li said uncertain ties in international situation have gone on unabated, with traditional and non-traditional security threats intertwining, the gap between the North and South widening and the challenges brought by economic globalization to the developing countries, African countries in particular, looming even larger.
"The collapse of the WTO talks in Cancun has reminded people of the renewed urgency in considering the strengthening of South-South cooperation, North-South dialogue, as well as the establishment of a new international economic order that is fair and rational," the minister said.
The Second Ministerial Conference of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum kicked off here on Monday morning, aiming to greatly improve the all-around cooperation between China and African countries.
Highlighted by the action-oriented spirit, the meeting, which gathered China and 44 African government delegations, is the first ministerial conference of the forum held on the African continent, and will be a significant event in the Sino-African relationship.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, his host counterpart Meles Zenawi and a dozen of other African heads of state or government attended the opening ceremony, and also present are Chinese and African foreign ministers and ministers in charge of the international economic cooperation, and representatives of some international and regional organizations as well.
(Xinhua News Agency December 16, 2003)