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Wen Encourages Benin to Export More to China
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Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday encouraged Benin to export more to China.


"China would like Benin to make full use of China's favorable tax-free policy on certain imports and expand its exports," Wen said in a meeting with visiting President Thomas Boni Yayi of the Republic of Benin.


China's biggest import from Benin, a west African coastal country, is cotton.


Figures from the General Administration of Customs show Sino-Beninese trade hit US$1.09 billion last year, up 58.65 percent year on year.


China and Benin should step up cooperation on agriculture and infrastructure, and in new fields like telecommunications and energy, Wen said.


Wen reaffirmed the bilateral friendship and cooperation on the basis of peaceful coexistence, saying China appreciated the Beninese government's support on the Taiwan issue and important international issues.


Wen reviewed China's aid programs in Benin and their positive economic and social impacts.


"China's assistance to Benin is selfless and without political strings," Wen said. "China would like to offer assistance to Benin."


Wen also pledged to boost China's solidarity and cooperation with African nations on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and non-interference in internal affairs.


Noting China is Benin's biggest partner and investor in Asia, Yayi said his visit was aimed at enhancing traditional friendship between the two peoples and promoting mutually beneficial cooperation.


As developing countries, Benin and China both faced common tasks and challenges, said Yayi, who is on his first visit to China since he assumed the presidency in April last year.


Yayi said Benin will expand its cooperation with China on agriculture, trade and energy.


He hoped the China-Africa summit scheduled for November was a great success.


Yayi arrived in Beijing on Sunday on a seven-day state visit to China as guest of President Hu Jintao.


Since 1972, China has provided US$200 million worth of aid to Benin, offering training programs and helping to develop fisheries, agriculture and industry and improve infrastructure.


(Xinhua News Agency August 30, 2006)

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