China Breaks Down Barriers with Africa in Bid to Boost Trade

As from Christmas Day 2023, China will remove custom tariffs on almost all product categories from six additional African countries. The new batch of countries benefitting from the preferential market access to the Chinese market are: Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Madagascar, Mali and Mauritania.

Over the past two years, China has already eliminated custom tariffs from 98% of product categories from 21 African countries. The Chinese government has set the goal to increase the value of imports from Africa from USD 100 billion in 2021 to USD 300 billion by 2035.

China-Africa Trade 2000-2021 (Source: EIU)

It is to be recalled that on 1st of December 2022, China granted similar zero-tariff treatment to ten Least Developed Countries (LDC), mostly in Africa, viz, Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Malawi, Sao Tome & Principe, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

On 1st January 2021, Mauritius was the first African country to enjoy a Free Trade Agreement (#FTA) with China. However, with the tariff elimination extended to other African countries, the advantages accrued by Mauritius are no longer unique.

African Wares Promoted at #CAETE

Under #FOCAC, China has instituted the China-Africa Trade and Economic Expo (#CAETE) which is held biennially in the city Changsha to provide a platform for African countries to showcase their products and facilitate their penetration into the Chinese market.

Currently, Africa exports mostly minerals and agricultural produce to China while China exports a wide array of finished goods to Africa, from slippers to ships. Thus, the Chinese consumer can now get chili from Rwanda, coffee from Ethiopia, tea from Kenya, wine from South Africa and rum from Mauritius, to cite a few examples.

In 2022, the trade volume between China and Africa reached USD 282 billion according to figures released by China General Customs Administration (CGCA). China exported for USD 150 billion to Africa while Africa exports to China amounted to about USD 130 billion.