Sino-Zim trade tops $1,2bn

via Sino-Zim trade tops $1,2bn | The Herald February 7, 2015

Trade between Zimbabwe and China grew marginally to $1,16 billion last year, up from $1,1 billion recorded in 2013 as economic ties between the two countries grew on the back of mega deals running into billions of dollars.

Speaking at the launch of the $5,4 million Zimbabwe Centre for High Performance Computing (Zim-CHPC) at the University of Zimbabwe yesterday, Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Lin Lin said China is now one of the most important trading partner for Zimbabwe.

“In the first 11 months of 2014, our bilateral trade rose to $1,16 billion, which has exceeded that of the whole year of 2013,” he said.

“The successes in our economic co-operation derive from our close political ties. In recent years, China and Zimbabwe have enjoyed frequent high level political exchanges.

“The most important one is the State visit to China by President Mugabe in August last year.”

Ambassador Lin Lin said tobacco, tobacco products and cotton accounted for about 80 percent of Zimbabwe’s exports to China.

The exports, he said, had contributed immensely in the revival of the country’s agriculture sector. Trade volumes have also been driven by China’s growing appetite for raw materials and precious minerals from Zimbabwe.

Bilateral trade between the two countries topped $1,1 billion in 2013, almost doubling the 2010 figures.

At the time, bilateral trade was in Zimbabwe’s favour as the country’s exports were $688 million while imports stood at $414 million. Trade traffic between the two countries ballooned from a mere $310 million in 2003 to $1,1 billion in 2013.

China has emerged as Zimbabwe’s closest international ally after Western countries imposed sanctions on President Mugabe, a decade ago after the veteran leader spearheaded the fast-track land reform which saw land being redistributed to thousands of landless blacks.

The HPC centre is one of many projects which had been implemented following the signing of nine major bilateral deals by President Mugabe and his Chinese counterpart last year.

The Asian giant offered Zimbabwe US$5,4 million for the HPC centre project. China is supporting Zimbabwe in the expansion of the Kariba South Hydro power station which will add another 300 megawatts on the country’s grid, the expansion of the Victoria Falls Airport, the construction of the Agricultural Technology Demonstration Centre including a string of other development projects.

In the past three years, China has extended grants and interest-free loans worth more than $100 million.

The China Exim Bank has provided over $1 billion worth of concessionary and commercial loans to Zimbabwe in recent years.

“We have been respecting and supporting each other on our core interests,” Ambassador Lin Lin said.

“China is sincerely grateful for the constant and strong support by Zimbabwe on China’s core interests such as China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang and the South China Sea issue.

“China has given its strong support to Zimbabwe in related matters. For example, China has been constantly calling for the removal of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western countries.”

China is now Africa’s largest trading partner and the Asian giant has built up infrastructure and industry on the continent while also pouring humanitarian aid to needy countries in Africa.

China’s footprint on the African continent is increasingly becoming big and bold and in 2013 China-Africa trade reached $210 billion with more than 2 500 Chinese companies operating on the continent, according to Xinhua reports.

Economic analysts said by the end of 2012, China had signed bilateral investment treaties with 32 out of the 54 African countries and established joint economic commission mechanisms with 45 African countries.

The China-Africa Development Fund, established as one of the eight pledges China made at the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit, had by the end of 2012, agreed to invest US$2,385 billion in 61 projects in 30 African countries.

At least $1,806 billion has already been invested in 53 projects.