The Chinese government has said it is interested in boosting its annual trade with Nigeria now worth about 13 billion U.S. dollars through increased import of agricultural produce from Nigeria.
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Gu Xiaojie, said this recently at the Forum of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Xiaojie said China mainly imported oil from Nigeria, which accounted for one billion U.S. dollars of the annual trade volume, adding that China was eager to diversify its imports from Nigeria.
“Nigeria is the biggest producer of crude oil in Africa and exports a lot of oil to other countries. China imports about five per cent of Nigeria’s oil.
“The government of China has taken up a number of measures to increase the import of agricultural produce such as yam and cassava.
“The government is encouraging our companies to increase (import of) agricultural produce from Nigeria and we are actually importing growing number of the agricultural produce.’’
Xiaojie, who described Nigeria as the third biggest trading partner of China in Africa, after Rwanda and South Africa, said both countries had sustained high level exchange of visits.
He said the establishment of a strategic partnership in 2005 had contributed immensely to improved relations.
He recalled that Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s officially visited Nigeria in May and participation in the World Economic Forum for Africa, hosted by Nigeria.
“There are about 60,000 Chinese citizens working here in Nigeria in various fields and of course, that shows we pay much attention to Nigeria.
Xiaojie estimated that non-oil investment by Chinese companies in Nigeria surpassed two billion U.S. dollars in 2013.
He said more Chinese companies had indicated interest to invest in Nigeria.
He, however, said he was not aware of allegations of Chinese companies flooding Nigeria with substandard products.
“I am not aware that Chinese companies bring in substandard products to Nigeria because they are operating on commercial basis and they are cooperating very well with the government here.
The ambassador said the Chinese embassy was discussing with Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Ministry on the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the strategic partnership between Nigeria and China in 2015.
He said China was willing to further deepen cooperation and expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges to further promote the Sino-Nigeria relationship. (NAN)