|Consul General Guo Kun gives interview to Nigeria's main stream media|
June 11th, Chinese Consul General Guo Kun to Lagos Nigeria, gave interview to Nigeria's main stream media, This Day, Punch, Guardian, NTA, STV, Mitv, Tell Magazine included. Below is the summary of the interview.
Q: Your Excellency, how long have you been in Nigeria as the Consul General and what has your experience been living and working in Nigeria?
A: My tenure started in Lagos three years ago.
I find life here in the mega city delightful, exciting and pleasant. I am honored to witness the huge improvement Lagos has achieved since I arrived. Also, it is the fabulous Nigerian people that are fascinating. I am quite pleased to meet and talk to many brilliant Nigerians. Simply put, good people, great nation.
Q: What would you say is China's foreign policy for Africa in general and for Nigeria in particular?
A: Enhancing solidarity and cooperation with African countries has always been an important component of China's independent foreign policy of peace. China will unswervingly carry forward the tradition of China-Africa friendship, and, proceeding from the fundamental interests of both the Chinese and African peoples, establish and develop a new type of strategic partnership with Africa, featuring political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchange.
Particularly, since 1971, when the People's Republic of China and Federal Republic of Nigeria established diplomatic ties, relations between the two have been growing steadily. In 2006, China and Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding on establishing a strategic partnership.
Sino- Nigerian relations are now undergoing all-round development, and the two countries had reached consensus on building strategic partnership with political mutual trust, economic reciprocity and mutual assistance in international affairs.
Q: China is decidedly the fastest growing economy in the world as of today, what would you say is responsible for this phenomenal transformation from where it was economically about 30 years ago to what it is today? What lessons can Nigeria learn from the Chinese experience?
A: Under the leadership of the Chinese government, China has made tremendous progress since the reform and opening-up to the outside world some 30 years ago. I would like to attribute this phenomenal success to the fact that China, according to its own conditions, has found a way that best fits itself. No country could develop without learning others' experience, yet such development should be based on its own reality. That is to say, we should find a way that best suits ourselves.
We would like to share some experience with Nigerian brothers and sisters. We do hope that under the leadership of the Nigerian government, with the great efforts of all Nigerians, this nation will be making greater progress in the years to come.
Q: In terms of economic, technological, socio-cultural and educational intercourse between China and Nigeria, where do you think we are now and where should we be heading for in the next 10 years or so?
A:The fact that the intercourse between China and Nigeria is now in the ascendant is satisfying and encouraging. Furthermore, considering the economic complementarity between the two, both countries have realized the great potential in various areas.
In 2006, during his visit to Nigeria, President Hu Jintao made the four-point proposal for the development of bilateral relations, which could be seen as the blueprint for the future:
The first is to enhance political mutual trust to promote strategic cooperation. The second is to expand cooperation in areas including agriculture, energy, electricity, infrastructural construction, telecommunications and satellite to achieve reciprocity and win- win. The third is to expand cultural exchanges and cooperation and jointly combat various diseases including malaria and bird flu. The fourth is to strengthen cooperation in international affairs to promote world peace, enhance coordination and cooperation on major international issues such as the reform of the United Nations, human rights, anti-terrorism and peacekeeping, and promote South-South and South-North dialogues to jointly safeguard the just rights and interests of developing countries.
Q: In terms of investment between the two countries, give us the current status in terms of trade balance?
A: In the past few years, the bilateral trade between China and Nigeria has grown steadily. In 2009, the volume of bilateral trade is 6.373 billion, and export to Nigeria is 5.476 billion, import from Nigeria is 0.897 billion, which has increased 76.3% compared to 2008. Yet I couldn't stress more that China does not pursue trade surplus with Nigeria, China wishes to work with Nigeria to balance the trade. The most important reason for China's trade surplus with Nigeria is due to the different economic structures of the two countries. Manufacture is an important part of China's economy while in Nigeria oil industry is the prime sector. However, very limited crude oil is currently exported to China. This naturally creates the imbalance of the trade. But Chinese and Nigerian governments are committed to solve the problem by cooperation.
Q: What constitute the major commodities that make up the trade?
A: Mechanical and electronic products, textile, light-industrial products constitute the major commodities which China exports to Nigeria. The major commodities China imports from Nigeria contain agricultural products, minerals, textile raw materials,and we wish we can have further cooperation in the field of energy and infrastructure etc.
Q: What support do you give to investors looking for opportunities in either Nigeria by Chinese investors or China by Nigerian investors?
A:Our government always encourages Chinese companies to invest in Nigeria and provide subsidy, preferential policies in tax and subsidized interest to the companies which invest in Nigeria. Until now, China has already invested 7.24 billion dollars and created more then 30,000 jobs for Nigeria. Among them, Lekki Free Trade Zone is a very good example. If this project becomes successful, Nigeria's capability of manufacture will be largely enhanced, which definitely will contribute Nigeria's export. Also, Chinese government spares no effort to provide convenience to Nigerian investors in China.