BY YENENEH SISAY – The Chinese government and Ethiopia announced that they are working to increase the bilateral trade between them to three billion USD by the year 2015.
Chen Deming, China’s Commerce Minister, who is currently in Addis for official visit, said bilateral trade between the two countries will exceed three billion USD by the 2015. “The goal is to double the size of bilateral trade by 2015 over the current level to three billion dollars,” he said.
China will boost Ethiopia’s agriculture through technology transfers, increased preferential loans for infrastructure and the export of more electro-mechanical goods. It would also encourage Chinese traders to buy Ethiopian products, according to Mr. Deming.
Bilateral trade between the two countries for the last eleven months was 1.376 billion USD, a 20 times increase from it was in the year 2000. Last year, the volume of China’s direct public investment in Ethiopia reached 900 million USD.
Ethiopia’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Girma Biru and his Chinese counterpart have also signed agreement enabling to offer preferential market access to Ethiopia’s export interest to China.
The deal aims at increasing Ethiopia’s export to China and attempts to narrow the trade balance gap between the two nations. The agreement allows Ethiopia to export 95% of its products to China duty free.
According to official statistics of the National Bank of Ethiopia, From February 2009 to March 2009, China’s export volume to Ethiopia is ten times larger than the Ethiopia’s Exports to China.
Trade exchange between the two countries has been growing by 35.6 per cent annually on average in particular over the past eight years.
After his discussion with Prime Minister Mels Zenawi of Ethiopia, he said that Ethiopia has keen interest to share China’s rich experience in the fields of infrastructural development, manufacturing industry, and economic administration.
On Tuesday, January 12, 2010, China also signed loan deal worth 25.2 million USD for customs equipment for Ethiopia.
According to the Chinese Commerce Minister, his country is committed to increase its support for Ethiopia’s infrastructure, trade, agriculture and industrial development to enhance bilateral cooperation.
The Chinese exports to Ethiopia mainly cover the light industry projects, metal and building materials, mechanic and electric products, and medical and chemical products and so on. While Ethiopia exports its agricultural products such as Coffee, oilseeds and the like.
The economic and technological cooperation between China and Ethiopia was started in 1971 and up to now China has already built for Ethiopia the highway, veterinary station, power station and water-supply projects and so on. The Chinese companies started to take up undertakings there in 1986.