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Gao Hucheng: Booming and Promising China-Angola Economic and Trade Cooperation


On May 9, Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng talked about China-Angola economic and trade cooperation during an interview. The main contents are as follows:

In 2013, President Xi Jinping put forward the cooperative concept of “Sincere, Honest, Close and Earnest” during his visit in Africa, injecting new contents of the times to the China-Africa new strategic partnership. Angola is the third leg of Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Africa, which is of great significance to comprehensively deepen China-Angola strategic partnership and strengthen solidarity and cooperation among developing countries. China-Angola economic and trade cooperation is an important part of bilateral relations. During the premier’s visit, the most prominent highlight will be the signing of several economic and trade cooperation agreements, which fully show what President Xi Jinping pointed out during his visit to Africa last year, “Honest is important in cooperation with Africa”.

After the civil war ended in 2002, Angola began oil exploration and large-scale infrastructure reconstruction, realizing rapid economic growth and rising to be the third largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa. In the meantime, China-Angola economic and trade relations saw fast development. The two countries’ cooperation in trade, investment and contracted projects expanded rapidly. At present, Angola has become China’s second largest trade partner and largest supplier of crude oil in Africa. In 2013, bilateral trade volume amounted to US$ 36 billion, taking up 40% of Angola’s foreign trade, and about 50 times of that at the beginning of the century. The trade mainly covers mechanical and electrical products, steel, energy and mineral resources. China’s contracted projects in Angola were also fruitful. By the end of 2013, the contracted projects signed by Chinese enterprises in Angola had a combined worth of US$ 44.3 billion, with US$ 37 billion having been completed. The projects covered fields of electric power, port, highway, railway, housing and telecommunications. Meanwhile, bilateral investment has been going up in recent years. By the end of 2013, China’s investment in Angola exceeded US$ 8 billion, making positive contributions to Angola’s economic and social development.

Over the past years, China-Angola economic and trade cooperation has been fast, deep and exemplary. The cooperation package on infrastructure driven by financing is a highlight of bilateral cooperation. To resolve the shortage of funds in Angola’s post-war reconstruction, Chinese financial institutions started a series of financing cooperation with Angolan side to help with its infrastructure and livelihood projects including school, hospital, road, water supply and power transmission and transformation, vigorously supporting Angola’s post-war reconstruction and economic growth. Driven by the cooperation package, China-Angola cooperation on infrastructure expanded rapidly. Angola has become China’s third largest market of contracted projects in Africa, with hundreds of Chinese enterprises operating there. Besides, the cooperation package effectively improved Angola’s infrastructure for industry and agriculture, creating favorable conditions for the expansion of bilateral investment from petroleum to manufacturing and agriculture. The cooperation combining comparative advantages has achieved complementary and common development, which accords with the common interests of the two countries.

During his visit, Premier Li Keqiang will exchange views with President Dos Santos on deepening bilateral economic and trade cooperation, and made a top-level design on further enriching China-Angola strategic partnership, promoting transformation and upgrading of bilateral economic and trade cooperation and deepening development. Meanwhile, governments, enterprises and financial institutions of the two sides will sign relevant agreements on cooperation in the fields of medical care, hydroelectricity, agriculture and people’s livelihood.

At present, the economic development of both China and Angola is promising. China has strength in capital, technology and productivity, together with advantages for “going out”. Angola has urgent need of economic development with abundant energy and mineral resources and robust market demands. The two economies are highly complementary and are faced with the similar task of economic restructuring. The two sides have great potentials and opportunities in cooperation on electric power, railway, agriculture, energy and minerals, manufacturing and infrastructure. In the future, China will strengthen cooperation with Angola in the following fields.

First, deepening infrastructure cooperation. In recent years, Angola has increased its input in infrastructure construction, and taken social development projects concerning national welfare and people’s livelihood as priorities, rapidly changing the nation’s outlook and opening a new chapter of China-Angola cooperation on infrastructure. In the future, Angola will make more efforts to improve domestic infrastructure. Therefore, the Chinese government will continue to support enterprises to take part in infrastructure projects related to railway, highway and power grid, transfer technology, train personnel and create more jobs, so as to help Angola realize sustainable development in infrastructure construction. In the meantime, Chinese enterprises will strive to change the operation modes and gradually localize operations.

Second, strengthening agricultural cooperation. Angola boasts superior natural conditions with 6.7 million hectares of cultivated lands and over 30 million hectares of lands to be developed. China has advantages in agricultural technology and supportive funding. To help Angola improve grain output, China is willing to, on the basis of existing agricultural technological training and infrastructure supporting projects, start agricultural demonstration centers as early as possible to promote the demonstration and expansion of improved varieties. Meanwhile, Chinese enterprises will be better involved in agricultural reclamation, planting, storage and processing to strengthen China-Angola agricultural investment and cooperation.

Third, positively carrying out manufacturing cooperation. High potential exists in China-Angola manufacturing investment and cooperation. Angola has great demands for manufactured goods like building materials and light industrial products in its large-scale post-war reconstruction. To raise production capacity, Angola has taken manufacturing as the priority. At present, Chinese enterprises have invested and set up glass and steel factories in accordance with the requirements of Angola. Based on this, China will encourage its enterprises to broaden cooperation fields, expand investments and increase cooperation benefits.

Fourth, making efforts to broaden financing cooperation. China-Angola cooperation package has favorable effects in Angola and Africa in a whole. With their respective economic expansion and deepening cooperation, the requirements and patterns of bilateral financing cooperation tend to be more diversified. On the basis of reciprocity and mutual benefit, China is willing to bolster financial institutions of the two countries to strengthen communication and broaden business, providing better services to enterprises. Besides, the two sides will encourage enterprises to gain more substantial achievements in their cooperation through the China-Portugal development fund and economic and trade cooperative area.

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