Sino-Africa Trade Hits Historic High

Released in Beijing on Monday, the Annual Report on the Development of Africa noted that, despite the turbulence experienced by some North African countries during 2011, bilateral trade had reached an historic high. Jointly compiled and published by China’s Social Sciences Academic Press, the External Relations Bureau of the Ministry of Culture, and the Institute of West Asian and African Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the report reveals that bilateral trade volume reached US$166 billion in 2011, reflecting an increase of 31 percent over the previous year, and 8.4 percent higher than the Asian country’s overall foreign trade growth rate.

Exports from China to Africa reached US$73 billion, an increase of 22 percent year-on-year compared with 2010, while imports from African countries reflected an increase of 39 percent and stood at US$93 billion. Libya was the only African country to register a significant decrease (58%) in trade with China. The Ministry of Commerce is set to release data on Sino-African trade figures for the first half of 2012 later this month. With China’s trade with the European Union and Japan remaining static, it is anticipated that trade with Africa will be in the spotlight. China’s global trade for the first half of this year totaled US$1.84 trillion, being an 8 percent increase year-on-year. Sino-African trade has grown by more than 30 percent every year since 2000, with South Africa, Angola, Sudan, Nigeria and Egypt being China’s biggest partners for trade in 2011.

Executive vice-president and secretary-general of the professional committee of competition policy and law under the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, Wang Cheng’an was reported as saying that China has taken many measures to expand bilateral trade. Since 2005 China has expanded the catalog of duty-free products imported from up to 29 of the least developed countries in Africa. China’s imports from Africa include iron ore and crude oil, while its exports to the African continent include textile products, machinery, electric and electronic products.

Standard Chartered Bank is currently hosting the 12th Africa Chairmen in Beijing as part of the strategy to boost Sino-African trade and investments. The bank’s delegation from Africa will be participating in China’s upcoming 4th Conference of African and Chinese Entrepreneurs in Beijing as part of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).