By Victor Gotevbe, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief,
The People’s Republic of China is considered one of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s closest allies and partners. The bilateral relations between Nigeria and the China have continued to expand on growing bilateral trade and strategic cooperation. This is evident in the increasing number of companies and business people interested in doing business in China. Victor Gotevbe of Diplomatic Watch had a chat with Mr. Gao Hongliang, Commercial Consul, Economic and Commercial Section of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China, Lagos, who spoke about China’s biggest trade fair, the cooperation between both countries and how it has been of mutual benefits. Excerpts:
The Canton Fair is China’s largest trade fair with the longest history, can you share with us its history?
China Import and Export Fair, also known as Canton Fair, was established in 1957. Co-hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of PRC and the People’s Government of Guangdong Province and organized by China Foreign Trade Centre, it is held every spring and autumn in Guangzhou, China. Canton Fair is a comprehensive international trading event with the longest history, the largest scale, the most complete exhibit variety, the largest buyer attendance, the broadest distribution of buyers’ source country and the greatest business turnover in China.
After 61 years’ reform and innovative development, the Canton Fair has withstood various challenges and never been interrupted. The Canton Fair enhances trade connection between China and the world, demonstrating China’s image and achievements of development. It is an outstanding platform for Chinese enterprises to explore the international market and an exemplary base to implement China’s strategies for foreign trade growth. The Canton Fair serves as the first and foremost platform to promote China’s foreign trade, and a barometer of the foreign trade sector. It is the window, epitome and symbol of China’s opening up.
Nigeria is one of the countries the Fair has established trade relations with and have had Nigerian visitors attended. How has this been beneficial to Nigerian businesses?
Nigeria is Africa’s first population country and the largest economy. In recent years, the bilateral relation between China and Nigeria have been further strengthened, bilateral economic and trade cooperation have achieved fruitful results, and the scale of trade has continued to expand. From January to June this year, the bilateral trade volume between China and Nigeria reached US$7.2 billion，increased by 7.6% year-on-year. At present, Nigeria is China’s third largest trading partner and the largest contract projects market in Africa, and an important investment destination. China and Nigeria have strong economic complementarities, good cooperation momentum, huge potential for cooperation and broad development space.
The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos attaches great importance to Nigerian business community’s attendance in the event. We invite more than 40 Nigerian business delegations including over 4000 businessmen from different commercial chambers and relevant organizations to attend our spring session and autumn session Canton Fair every year.
As I mentioned, Canton Fair is an international first-class platform to facilitate business cooperation. At present, the Canton Fair has established trade relations with more than 200 countries and regions around the world. Nigerian enterprises’ attendance not only promotes China’s development of China’s open economy, but also enjoys great convenience for them to explore China’s huge consumer market and sell the world, and promotes a more diversified development of Nigeria’s foreign trade.
How best can the general public work with the Commercial Section of the Chinese Consulate General in furtherance of the bilateral relations between Nigeria and China?
The mission of my office is as follows: promoting investment and trade between China and Nigeria; providing consulting services for bilateral economic and trade cooperation; assisting relevant domestic institutions to issue invitations of large trade fairs held in China to Nigerian businesses; guiding and coordinating the contract projects and labor service cooperation projects undertaken by Chinese companies in our consular district; helping Chinese enterprises explore Nigerian market.
2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which successfully concluded in the beginning of September, promoted China-Africa cooperation to a new high, and drew the grand blue print for bilateral win-win cooperation. Guided by the spirit of the Summit, we will make greater efforts to fulfill our mission to boost China-Nigeria economic cooperation.