The New Times (Kigali)

2 November 2012

East Africa: EAC, China Hold Talks On Trade, Infrastructure

A 30-member business delegation led by a Deputy Director General in China's Ministry of Commerce, Cao Jiachang, on Wednesday held discussions on the promotion of trade, investment and infrastructure development with East African Community.

EAC delegation led by the bloc's Deputy Secretary General in charge of Finance and Administration, Jean Claude Nsengiyumva, briefed the Chinese delegation on the areas of partnerships and opportunities that the region can offer.

"We want to turn the EAC's resource strength to industrial strength to increase the current low trade volumes from EAC to China accounting for only 3% of trade between China and Africa," Jiachang said.

He reiterated China's readiness to support the region's infrastructure development projects and industrialisation.

According to Jiachang, China is open to scaling up trade with EAC.

He extended an invitation for an EAC business delegation, in addition to holding an EAC-China investment forum in the near future.

Jiachang said China attaches great importance to its relationship with the EAC and, "expressed China's interest" in supporting initiatives on various potential partnerships.

EAC's Director for Infrastructure, Philip Wambugu, said the bloc valued China's role in the development of the region.

Chinese firms were called on to invest and seek partnerships in ferry building, pharmaceuticals, petro-chemicals, development of ports and development of regional road network.

The talks were held in the context of the Framework Agreement on Economy, Trade, Investment and Technical Cooperation that the EAC and the People's Republic of China signed in November last year.

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