rade volume between Nigeria and China will hit $10 billion by the end of 2011, the Chinese government has said.
China's Deputy-Minister for Commerce, Mr. Chen Jian, disclosed this during a meeting with the Nigerian Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, yesterday in Beijing.
He added that Chinese companies had invested a total of $8.3 billion in Nigeria, noting that they were also involved in engineering projects worth $28.1 billion in the country.
Jian said the Chinese government would encourage Chinese companies to continue to invest in Nigeria if the Nigerian government could pay more attention to improving the business environment, pursue consistent policies and provide security for foreign investors.
He said: "This year marks the 40th year of bilateral relationship between Nigeria and China. By the end of this year, trade volume between China and Nigeria will be $10 billion. This will be record high. Chinese companies also have actual investments worth $8.3 billion in Nigeria.
"We will encourage our companies to step up their investments in your country if the Nigerian government can make the business environment more friendly, ensure consistent policies and provide adequate security for foreign investors."
He noted that the decision to have a ministry oversee investment issues in Nigeria, however, showed that the government was committed to attracting Foreign Direct Investment into the country, adding that China's Ministry of Commerce would cooperate with the Nigerian Ministry of Trade and Investment in the area of capacity building for ministry officials.
According to the deputy minister, going forward, the two countries should focus on further developing bilateral trade and further increasing the quality of trade between them.
Special Assistant to the Minister of Trade and Investment on Corporate Communications, Mrs Yemi Kolapo, added that China said it was willing to take measures to increase the import of oil and non-oil products from Nigeria in order to boost trade.
On his part, Olusegun Aganga, the Nigerian Trade and Investment Minister, noted that Nigeria regarded China as a strategic partner, assuring the Chinese government that the investment climate reform which the Nigerian government commenced recently, would provide the right environment for the Chinese to further invest in critical areas such as infrastructure.
He urged the Chinese government to make Nigeria a manufacturing zone for most of China's products, saying that this would help to create more jobs in the country and resolve the trade imbalance issue.
"Nigeria has the raw materials and the market needed for fruitful investments. Your country (China) has the capital and technology. An enhanced investment relationship will be a win-win situation for the two countries," Aganga noted.
He called on the Chinese government to help reduce the infrastructure deficit in Nigeria by encouraging Chinese companies to invest more in power, rail and road projects, adding that "Nigeria will continue to record double-digit growth every year for the next 20 years if infrastructure is fixed."
The trade and investment minister, however, implored the two countries to sign the Memorandum of Understanding on the trading of quality products to solve the problem of sub-standard goods being imported into Nigeria.
Related stories: Video - Nigeria and China strengthen ties