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AfCFTA to gain from Chinese expertise

By Otiato Opali in Nairobi, Kenya | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-10-26 22:14

A medical worker checks the temperature of an employee at a China-renovated railway construction site in Tanzania in May. [Photo/Xinhua]

The African Continental Free Trade Area and China's Ministry of Commerce have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate and establish an expert group on economic cooperation.

Once assembled, the group is expected to collaborate in areas that will include experience-sharing on intellectual property rights, customs procedures, digital trade and competition policy. The group will also pursue the exchange of concepts and policies while sharing progress on the institutional capacity and implementation of the AfCFTA.

The MoU was signed at a virtual ceremony on Friday between Wamkele Mene, secretary-general of the AfCFTA Secretariat, and Qian Keming, China's vice-minister of commerce.

In his remarks, Mene said this agreement is proof Africa and China share common aspirations. He added the agreement is rooted in the spirit of cooperation and the need to build an Africa-China strategic partnership that adheres to the principle of achieving shared growth through collaboration and discussion.

"China has made tremendous progress in the knowledge economy, where innovation is the driver for economic growth and intellectual property is the anchor of innovation. China, therefore, has the experience to support AfCFTA processes in these key areas", Mene said.

"China has been providing financial assistance to the AfCFTA Secretariat since its establishment, and support on aspects touching on intellectual property rights, investment, competition policy, and digital trade would be critical for the impending AfCFTA Phase II negotiations."

He also pointed out AfCFTA will produce new trading and investment opportunities for China in various economic sectors, including agro-processing, automobiles and financial technology. 

In his virtual address, Qian said the MoU would solidify relations between China and the continent for mutual benefits and indicated China's commitment to ensuring this objective is met.

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