Portuguese-speaking countries increasingly important for China’s trade with Africa

28 April 2014

Portuguese-speaking countries account for over a fifth of all the trade China does with Africa, with an increasing weight in total trade and a trade surplus for Beijing, according to the latest statistics.

In 2013, China’s International Chamber of Commerce said last week, trade with African countries rose by 5.9 percent to US$210.2 billion.

Of this total the biggest slice represents Chinese imports from Africa – US$117.4 billion, or 3.8 percent more than the previous year – higher than the US$92.8 billion in Chinese exports to Africa, which rose by 8.8 percent.

According to the same figures, at the end of 2013 there were over 2,000 Chinese companies operating in Africa, mainly in sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure, industry, extractive industries, finance, trade and logistics.

The figures from Chinas’ trade with Portuguese-speaking African countries – Angola, Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe – compare favourably with total trade with Africa.

Statistics from China’s Customs Service, published by the Office to Support the Permanent Secretariat of Forum Macau, showed that Angola, China’s second-largest trading partner in the Portuguese-speaking world, in 2013 increased its trade with China by 35.5 percent to US$37.502 billion.

Angola’s sales to China totalled US$33.458 billion – 34.4 percent more – and purchases totalled US$.4.044 billion, as a result of a rise of more than 45 percent.

With Mozambique, trade rose by 22.6 percent to US$1.64 billion, with Mozambique buying goods from China worth US$1.19 billion – 27.12 percent more – whilst China bought goods from Mozambique worth US$451 million, or 12.02 percent more than in 2012.

Along with the figures for Cabo Verde and the other Portuguese-speaking African countries, total trade is close to US$40 billion, or around one fifth of China’s total trade with Africa as a whole.

At the 4th Ministerial Conference of Forum Macau, held in November 2013, a Plan of Action for Economic and Trade Cooperation (2014-2016) was signed setting out the aim of increasing trade between China and the Portuguese-speaking world to US$160 billion by 2016.

The Chinese deputy Prime Minister, Wang Yang, specifically gave his support for Macau to build a number of facilities, including a Commercial Services Centre for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises from China and the Portuguese-speaking Countries, the Centre for Distribution of Food Products from Portuguese-speaking Countries and the centre for Conventions and Expositions for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and the Portuguese-speaking Countries.

“In recent years, we have witnessed increasing trade cooperation between China and the Portuguese-speaking Countries,” said the Macau Institute for Trade and Investment Promotion (IPIM) in a recent report on trade between the countries. (macauhub/CN/AO/MZ/ST/GW/CV)