#Analysis #China #Economy #Trade #Africa
Agence Ecofin
31 May 2023 Last update on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 At 10:24 AM

Despite Beijing's commitment to correcting the imbalance that characterizes its trade relations with Africa, Chinese imports from the continent have recorded a double-digit decline in the first four months of the current year.

Trade between China and Africa reached $94.4 billion in the first four months of 2023, up 8.9 percent from the same period of 2022, according to data released by the General Administration of China Customs.

Between January 1 and April 30, 2023, exports from the Middle Kingdom to African countries increased by 26.9% compared to the same period of the past year to reach 58.9 billion dollars .

Chinese imports from Africa, however, fell by 11.8% year-on-year in the first four months of the current year, being limited to 35.5 billion dollars.

According to analysts, the fall in the value of Chinese imports from Africa since the beginning of 2023 is mainly due to the decline in commodity prices and the drop in demand for minerals, in the context of a less vigorous than expected recovery of the Asian giant’s economy.

Slower Chinese economic growth due to prolonged lockdowns and geopolitical tensions that disrupted supply chains in 2022 has significantly increased China’s mineral inventories and reduced demand for all commodities,” said Carlos Lopes, former executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, quoted by the daily South China Morning Post.

Most Chinese exports to Africa are finished goods (textiles-clothing, machinery, electronics, etc.), while African exports to the Middle Kingdom are dominated by raw materials such as crude oil, copper , cobalt and iron ore, resulting in a trade surplus in favor of China.

However, the Chinese authorities have put in place policies aimed at correcting this trade imbalance. Last September, Beijing removed tariffs on 98% of products imported from nine African countries, including Guinea, Mozambique, Rwanda and Togo.

This tariff dismantling follows the announcement by Chinese President Xi Jinping, during the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC 8) held in Dakar in November 2021, of Beijing’s intention to increase its imports of African agricultural products.

The Chinese leader then indicated that the objective was to increase Chinese imports from the African continent to 100 billion dollars per year from 2022, then to 300 billion dollars per year by 2035.

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