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China views Ethiopia as major economic, trading partner in Africa

    China views Ethiopia as its major economic and trading partner in Africa, says Minister of Commerce Chen Deming on Monday.

    The bilateral trade volume reached a historical high of 1.376 billion U.S. dollars during the first 11 months of last year, up 12.4 percent over the same period of the previous year, said Chen, adding that China''''s imports from Ethiopia during that period rose 202 percent to over 200 million dollars.

     During his talks with Sufian Ahmed, Ethiopia''''s minister of finance and economic development, the Chinese minister said China''''s investment in Ethiopia had accumulated to 138 million dollars in areas like textile, daily necessities, machinery, glass, building materials and leather.

     By the end of November last year, Chinese firms in Ethiopia had accumulated a turnover of engineering contracts with nearly 4 billion dollars, said Chen, who arrived here on Monday for a two-day visit.

     Chen put forward a four-point proposal on further development of bilateral trade and economic cooperation: First, further expanding its imports from Ethiopia through the use of tariff-free policies; Second, strengthening cooperation in investment and engineering contracts and continuing to encourage strong Chinese firms to invest in Ethiopia; Third, fully implementing the eight new measures to enhance cooperation with Africa; Fourth, further promoting cooperation in official development assistance to support Ethiopia''''s infrastructure, and projects aimed to improve people''''s well-being.

     For his part, Sufian expressed his thanks for China''''s long-term official development aid to Ethiopia.

     The Ethiopian minister said trade deficit with China has improved significantly and China has become Ethiopia''''s biggest trading partner.

     Sufian spoke highly of China''''s eight new measures to enhance cooperation with Africa, saying that Ethiopia would work together with China to fully implement the measures.

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