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1. Bilateral trade relations
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South Africa is China's largest trading partner in Africa. According to customs statistics released in China, the bilateral trade volume between the two countries totaled US$ 7.27 billion in 2005, up 23.0 percent over the previous year, among which China's exports to South Africa arrived at US$ 3.83 billion, an increase of 29.6 percent, whereas China's imports from South Africa grew by 16.4 percent to hit US$ 3.44 billion. China had a trade surplus of US$ 0.39 billion with South Africa. China mainly exported to South Africa electro-mechanic products, garments and accessories, cereals and cereal powders, electric appliances and electronic products, textile yarn and related products. The major imports of China from South Africa were, among others, iron sand and iron fine ores, magnesium sand and magnesium fine ores, and paper pulp.

According to figures of China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), in 2005, the turnover of the completed engineering contracts by Chinese companies in South Africa stood at US$ 79.60 million, and the volume of the newly signed 27 engineering contracts reached US$ 52.51 million. In the same year, the volume of the completed labor service cooperation contracts by Chinese firms in South Africa summed US$ 3.19 million, and that of the newly signed 5 labor contracts added up to US$ 7.55 million. By the end of 2005, the accumulated turnover of the engineering contracts completed by Chinese businesses in South Africa amounted to US$ 170 million, with that of all the engineering contracts signed standing at US$ 530 million, and the accumulated volume of the completed labor service contracts reached US$ 56.68 million, with that of the total labor contracts signed running to US$ 76.71 million. Approved by or registered with MOFCOM in 2005, 12 Chinese-funded non-financial enterprises were set up in South Africa, with a total contractual investment of US$ 19.40 million from Chinese investors. By the end of 2005, the number of non- financial enterprises invested and established in South Africa by Chinese firms had come to 132, the overall contractual commitment arriving at US$ 260 million. South African firms invested in 67 projects in China in 2005, a decline of 23.0 percent over last year, but the contractual volume of investment rose significantly by 71.0 percent to reach US$ 280 million, with an actual utilization of US$ 110 million. By the end of 2005, South African companies had accumulatively invested in 488 FDI projects in China with a contractual investment of US$ 770 million and an actual invested capital of US$ 310 million.

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