Plans to further develop the Sino-Tanzanian economic and trade cooperation have been proposed by the Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming during a recent meeting with Tanzanian government officials.
According to Mr. Deming, proof that the current bilateral economic and trade cooperation is developing quickly is demonstrated by the fact that China’s imports from Tanzania increased by 46.7 percent during the first 11 months of 2009 and by the fact that the country received more than USD 200 million in Chinese direct investments.
Thus far, Chinese investment has been extended to Tanzania’s agriculture sector, pharmacy sector, textile and transportation sector, mining sector as well as to the various commodities that are produced from the construction sector and to various projects related to the countries infrastructure sector including roads, bridges, power projects and water supply projects.
The Chinese minister went on to emphasize the importance of strengthening the investment cooperation between the two countries as well as the initiation of negotiation and signing agreements for the protection of the investments and the exemption of dual taxation which, according to Mr. Chen, would help to generate benefits from the expansion of Chinese investment including new local job opportunities.
According to Mary Nagu, the Tanzanian Minister of Industry and Trade, who was present at the recent meeting, trade between Tanzania and China has been rapidly developing over the past few year under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, as evidenced by the fact that China is quickly becoming the third largest trade partner of the East African country.
In additon, Mrs. Nagu indicated that the latest measure that was instituted by China, reportedly in an effort to expand the sector of Tanzanian products exported to China that receive tax exemptions, has been useful in helping to balance bilateral trade.
Ms. Nagu went on to say that her country is ready to welcome additional Chinese companies to invest in industries, such as manufacturing, and that the government is looking forward to strengthening the development aid cooperation with China
Following the meeting, the Tanzanian Finance Minister, Mustafa Mkulo, announced that the Asian country had agreed to give Tanzania USD 180 million of the USD 10 billion low-cost lending concessional loans that will be extended to Africa as a part of their pledge that was made in November 2009 during a summit in Egypt and will be distributed over the next three years.
According to Mr. Mkulo, these loans will be used to help fund a number of development projects in various sectors such as infrastructure and information as well as communication and technology.
Mr. Mkulo went on to explain that the country is currently participating in talks with Beijing concerning the prospect of additional loans to be used for agriculture, railway infrastructure and transportation improvements as well as to upgrade and rehabilitate the Dar es Salaam port.
“There is a lot more to come from China,” said Mr. Mkulo, “Tanzania and China enjoy excellent ties […] We have a very, very good relationship politically, economically and socially.”