28 January 2013

Africa: WTO Nominee Vows Further China-Africa Trade Gains Sites

The nominee for the job of the director general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Amina Mohamed, says she will work to build on the trade gains resulting from China's engagement with Africa.

Mohamed is a one of the two African candidates for the WTO job along with John Alan Kyeremanten, a Ghanaian diplomat and former presidential candidate. One of them will assume the WTO's leadership in September to replace current Director General Frenchman Pascal Lamy.

"If elected, I will work to ensure that the benefits arising from the growing trade relations between Africa and China are expanded. China is a major player and a global growth engine," she said in an interview with Xinhua at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Ethiopia.

The exponential trade growth between China and Africa will be among the achievements Mohamed said she will be seeking to achieve globally so that trade among the nations opens up.

She will prioritise the conclusion of the pending WTO trade negotiations known as the Doha Development Agenda, whose intention is to knock down the trade barriers that continue to restrict growth of trade in the world.

These barriers mean that nations are restricted, therefore limiting markets for goods and services and slowing the creation of wealth in the world.

Like the Doha Round of Development's objective of knocking off most of the tariffs and non-tariffs barriers to trade, China has exempted tariffs on 60 percent of goods imported from 30 African countries since January this year in order to boost trade with the continent.

As a result, goods that would traditionally not find markets abroad are now being exported, enabling the African countries to earn the much needed foreign exchange, create wealth and add value to raw commodities.

China's Ministry of Commerce is also offering support for its companies that are investing in Africa through favorable lending terms, a factor attributed to the increase of Chinese non- financial direct investment in Africa to 1.5 billion dollars from January to October 2012, up 17 percent compared with the previous year.

Further data from the ministry indicated that Chinese companies signed project contracts worth 38.2 billion dollars with African partners during the January-October period, an increase of 27 percent year on year.


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