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Chinese Ambassador Vows to Help Boost Investment in Uganda
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Chinese ambassador Fan Guijin to Uganda has vowed to continue attracting more investors from China to the East African country, in a bid to reduce trade imbalance between the two countries.


The envoy revealed the trade volume has increased greatly in the last few years between China and Uganda, but trade surplus has been shifted to China's side.


"What concerns me, to be honest with you, is the trade imbalance," Fan told the reporters at the embassy ahead of an official visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to Uganda scheduled to begin on Friday.


This will be the first visit by China's premier to Uganda since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1962.


Wen's visit to Uganda, the last stop in his seven-nation Africa tour, is widely believed to be able to strengthen the bilateral relationship and boost cooperation in all areas.


The ambassador said he had been trying very hard to reduce the trade imbalance between China and Uganda since he took the post at the end of 2004.


"There are lots of opportunities for exporters in Uganda in China's markets. They have some products which have great potential in China. We have to work together to explore more effective ways to solve this problem," Fan said.


The bilateral trade between China and Uganda reached nearly US$100 million in 2005, 12.8 percent up from the previous year. Uganda's export to China has increased 71.8 percent to US$20 million while import from China increased 12.8 percent.


"We have to deepen our cooperation from both sides. I have been talking to quite a few potential investors in China, some of whom have expressed sincere interest," he added.


Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said last week in a televised speech in the Parliament that the first motorcycle assembling factory invested by a Chinese company in Uganda had started production of brand new motorcycles.


"We have already succeeded in attracting investors for motorcycles, and the next step is the automobiles," the Chinese ambassador said.


Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing has said in a statement that more Chinese companies have showed interest to invest or do business in Uganda.


"Steady progress has been made in our cooperation in agriculture, water conservancy, telecommunications and infrastructure development," Li said.


"No country in the world is expected to develop itself through aid from outside," Fan asserted while urging more efforts to be done in the key mutually beneficial cooperation of private sector.


He, however, showed his concern about the on-going power crisis, which could have deterred some of the investors.


"Any investor who wants to come over and operate here would have to take into considerations a lot of factors. You cannot expect them to run their business on costly generators," Fan added.


"What I would like to see the most is the products of Chinese invested industries are exported to China. I assure you I will continue to try," he added.


(Xinhua News Agency June 23, 2006)

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