Beijing, China, 27 Oct – Angola has overtaken South Africa to become China’s biggest African trading partner, the Chinese deputy trade minister said in Beijing Thursday, adding that trade between Angola and China could exceed US$10 billion by the end of the year.
According to Wei Jianguo, in the first nine months of 2006, Angola traded over US$9.3 billion, followed by South Africa, whose trade totaled US$6.8 billion.
Wei gave the information on Angolan-Chinese trade in a press conference to present the head of state and government summit of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), to be held in Beijing between November 3 and 5 and at which the Angolan delegation will be headed by President José Eduardo dos Santos.
In the first three quarters of 2006, according to figures from the Chinese trade ministry, trade between China and Africa totaled over US$40 billion, with Chinese exports slightly lower at US$18.7 billion and African exports at US$21.9 billion.
In the first half of 2006, Angola was China’s biggest oil supplier, as China has tried to diversify its sources of oil in order to move away from regions of greater political instability, such as the Middle East.
Angola exported 94 million barrels of oil to China in the first half of the year, or 18.2 percent of total Chinese oil imports, according to figures from China’s customs.
China is the second-largest oil importer and consumer in the world, after the United States, with the volume of Chinese oil imports having doubled over the last five years, due to an average annual economic growth rate of 8.9 percent. (macauhub)