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How China is checking export of inferior products to Nigeria
By H.E. Mr. Deng Boqing
2013/07/09
 

(The article below, which is written by the Chinese Ambassador, has been published on Nigerian newspaper Daily Trust, on 8th July, 2013. Link to the article: http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/index.php/international/58570-how-china-is-checking-export-of-inferior-products-to-nigeria-deng)

President Goodluck Jonathan will today, lead Nigerian government officials and businessmen to the People’s Republic of China to help increase Chinese investment in Nigeria.  The president is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders with focus on greater bilateral cooperation. China’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Deng Boqing, in this interview highlights the relevance of the visit and prospects of more gainful cooperation between the two countries as well as the ever bugging issue of export of inferior Chinese goods to Nigeria—Excerpt;  

President Goodluck Jonathan is visiting China. We understand he is to hold talks with your leaders in an effort to boost economic cooperation and other things, what are your candid expectations from this, what’s really the gain?

This will be the first time for our top leaders to meet after the new Chinese president assumed office. President Jonathan who is going on the invitation of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, is to meet his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders. The two parties will exchange views on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common concerns, consider new channels and approaches to boost China-Nigeria cooperation in political, economic, cultural and other fields, and sign a few documents of cooperation. I believe President Jonathan’s visit to China will further consolidate the traditional friendship between China and Nigeria, enhance strategic mutual trust, expand pragmatic bilateral cooperation, and in large promote the further development of China-ECOWAS and China-Africa relations.

Do you think current relations between the two countries warrant such gains from the visit?

Yes, very well. China-Nigeria diplomatic relations enters the 43rd year in 2013. Ever since the beginning, both sides have been trying to promote communication and cooperation. In 2005, our close ties were upgraded to a strategic partnership. Ever since then, our relations have witnessed rapid development. High-level exchanges remain active and our political mutual trust enhanced. The economic ties have been strengthened, bringing mutual benefits to people of our two countries. People-to-people communications and cultural exchanges between our two sides have been fully dynamic, ensuring vigorous interaction and enhancing mutual understanding between our two peoples. So I believe the two countries are in the best state of relations and the visit will even strengthen it.

Quickly, let’s go to this point--one major question on the minds of Nigerians is this issue of fake or inferior products said to be coming from China, how do you view this problem?

China has been hailed as the “World Factory” with its products reaching every corner of the earth. The world famous brands like IBM PC, VOLVO, have become Chinese brands. Behind the success of Chinese manufacturing industry and the popularity of made-in-China products, lies the great importance that China has attached to the quality of the products. As a matter of fact, quality has always been regarded as the lifeblood of Made-in-China brands. The way that China became the “World Factory” has been a process to improve the quality of its products. Nevertheless, as a Chinese saying goes, ‘In a big forest there is every kind of bird.’ Among the huge volume of Chinese products, and besides the ones manufactured for the high end markets, there also exists fair quality products targeted for the medium and low end markets as well as disqualified ones manufactured by a small number of lawless businessmen. The fair and low quality products sneak through different channels into the international market, where Africa has become the most vulnerable destination.

Why Africa, instead of Europe, the United States or elsewhere?

In my mind, there are the following reasons.  Firstly, African people, due to limited consumption level and capability, prefer cheap products, which encourages some African businessmen to import low end and low price products from China. Secondly, many African importers, when making orders for products from Chinese manufacturers, always press for lower prices, which leaves little room for profit for the manufacturers and thus low guarantee of quality for the products. Thirdly, relevant authorities of African countries, where smuggling and gray customs clearance are quite common, have not conducted effective supervision against the low quality products. What is also worth mentioning here is that, some of the inferior products in Africa though labelled “made in China”, are actually not Chinese products, but have been mistakenly categorized into the low quality made-in-China products.  Although inferior products only take a minimum proportion of the total volume of Chinese exports, they have a very adverse effect not only on the interests of the consumers, but also on the image of made-in-China products.

How do we curtail this trend, because many people do not know this is what is actually happening?

To curtail the spread of inferior products, the Chinese government has set up various monitoring and complaint platforms, conducted special controlling programmes, urged enterprises to assume responsibility for quality and safety of their products, enriched the quality and safety standard system, and worked to speed up the perfection of the quality inspection and supervision system. It has attached particular importance to the quality of products for export, and taken measures to do a comprehensive quality inspection of those goods to prevent outflow of substandard products. Besides that, the Chinese government is actively seeking the cooperation of African countries in strengthening the quality of Chinese products exported to Africa. Take Nigeria as an example. The governments of our two countries are currently working together and negotiating on the establishment of a mechanism for quality supervision. In March 2011, the Chinese embassy in Nigeria, together with the National Association of Nigerian Traders, co-hosted the seminar on China-Nigeria Trade Promotion to exchange ideas on how to raise the quality of Chinese products in Nigeria and push forward the sustained development of bilateral trade relations. It is our strong belief that, with the joint efforts of relevant stakeholders, there will be a continuous reduction of inferior products from China and better protection of the rights and interests of African consumers.

Another issue on China-Nigeria relations is the use of Nigerian workers in Chinese companies based in Nigeria, how is China encouraging its companies to employ more Nigerians?

The Chinese government always encourages Chinese companies going abroad to localize their teams and shoulder due social responsibilities. And indeed, most Chinese companies in Nigeria have been aware of the importance of localization ever since they came here, and accordingly they have been trying to integrate the local people into their projects. So far Chinese companies in Nigeria have employed over 100,000 Nigerians, and a lot of Nigerian employees have been acknowledged for their contributions to Chinese companies here in Nigeria.  Let me give you an example. Once I was invited to a prize-awarding ceremony held by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Nigeria Limited in honour of its employees who have been working in the company for over 10 years. What impressed me most was that among the 10 employees getting the awards, five of them were Nigerians and by the time they had already been part of the management of the company. Localization is one of the secrets of CCECC’s success here in Nigeria.

Now, what is the state of bilateral ties at the moment, any improvements?

Of course. Over the past 42 years, China and Nigeria have been making great achievements. Our two countries have been forging ever closer economic ties. Nigeria is now the third largest trade partner of China in Africa. In 2012, the trade volume between the two countries reached USD 10.57 billion, and by the end of last year, China’s non-financial direct investment in Nigeria accumulated to USD 8.7 billion. In the financial sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria is the very first one in Africa to include Chinese currency RMB in its foreign exchange reserves, with a view to building strategic and mutually beneficial relationship with key Chinese financial institutions. Our cooperation in science and technology has made Nigeria the first African country that boasts of satellite navigation capacity. In 2011, the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) launched Nigerian Communications Satellite 1R, which has thereafter met Nigeria’s requirements on communications, broadcast, navigation and broadband access and also provided services for Africa, Europe and Asian continents. People-to-people communication and cultural exchanges are an integral part of our bilateral relations. Both countries enjoy ancient civilizations and splendid cultures, and we could often find similarities in our value systems and world views. However, we still want to know more about each other. In the just concluded African Arts and Crafts Expo, the Chinese delegation showcased the exquisite Chinese handicraft, most of which are acknowledged as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, two Confucius centers have been founded in Nigeria namely in Lagos University and Nnamdi Azikiwe University. Besides, a Nigerian culture week in China last year impressed many Chinese people.

But as a major global economic power, China will naturally enjoy a better trade advantage while dealing with Nigeria, how is trade going between the two countries?

In 2012, the trade volume between the two countries reached USD 10.57 billion.  In my view, our two economies are highly complementary, and the cooperative relations have huge potential and broad prospects. Nigeria is one of the top crude oil producers and exporters in the world. Like many other countries in the world, China is willing to import crude oil from Nigeria. However, compared with Nigeria’s other trading partners, the amount of crude oil exported to China is much lower, which only constitutes 1% to 2% percent of Nigeria’s total crude oil export. Our two countries have been managing to diversify the trade relations. In August 2011, China imported 1.1million metric tons of Cassava chips from Nigeria. We Chinese side shall continue to encourage more import of non-oil items from Nigeria, especially agricultural products.

Another issue of concern is how to get Chinese visa, are you considering anything like relaxing visa rules for businessmen since you want trade to improve between the countries?

Relationship between two countries is based on the communication between their peoples. This is why the Chinese embassy has been taking a lot of measures and trying our best to satisfy the increasing visa demands of the Nigerian people. During the rush seasons like before the Canton Trade Fair is to be held, the consular section sometimes even opens at weekends and holidays. Besides, more visa officers will be on duty and often they have to work overtime to manage the ever-increasing workload. There are also special application procedures for delegations to facilitate the process. For Nigerians who have been to China before and have kept a good record, we are prone to granting them multiple-entry visa. However, all the relevant works should be based on the policy of visa application. And what I want to point out is that the visa application policies of our two countries are reciprocal. As there are people complaining of the strict procedure of visa application, there are also Nigerian friends commending it for creating a favourable environment for their trips to China because nowadays Nigerians visiting China are mostly well educated, presenting a positive image of Nigeria.

As you aware, Nigeria currently has security challenges, how would China like to assist in this regard?

China and Nigeria have a lot in common. Both our cultures attach much importance to forgiveness, tolerance and resilience. The Nigerian government has already taken various measures, including dialogue, to tackle the current situation of insurgency. I believe the Nigerian government and people will work out its way to solve the problem. During the years, China has engaged in promoting infrastructure here and increased direct investment in Nigeria, creating jobs for Nigerian people and boosting the economic development of Nigeria. In a sense, all these contributions will help to stabilize the Nigerian society.

In spite of attempts by China to reach out to other countries, it does appear to allow dominance of the western media in presenting information on China to Africans, which often turns out negative. How is China working to clarify its image and intentions to Africans themselves?

I am very glad to know that our Nigerian media friends have noticed this, and I think in this regard Nigeria also suffers the same fate. Before I came to Nigeria, little of the information I got about Nigeria from the western media were positive, which made me feel sort of disappointed. However, after I came here, I saw a totally different picture. Nigeria is making progress at her own pace; most parts of Nigeria enjoy peace; and Nigerian people are very friendly. This reminds me of a Nigerian saying, that “truth is like oil. No matter how much water you pour on it, it floats.” I came to Nigeria, and I see a real Nigeria. I think with the communications and visits going on between our two countries, more and more Nigerian people will get to know the real China. And I encourage our Nigerian media friends who have been to China to write real China stories, so that more and more Nigerian people will understand China and Chinese people in the right way. In addition, Startimes, a Chinese company here in Nigeria, has included CCTV-News in the channels, from which our Nigerian friends can get a lot of first-hand information about China.

As the second largest economy in the world and still making progress, how would you comment on China’s development? In which way will China’s development influence the world?

Ever since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, especially over the past three decades, China has been witnessing great changes and making notable achievements. In the most recent 10 years, China’s economic aggregate rose fourfold, increasing from 4.4% to about 10% of the world economic aggregate. Meanwhile, per capita GDP of China grew from $1,135 to $6,100, Chinese people’s living standard and social welfare system remarkably enhanced. China’s development has made great contributions to world economy. According to a study by Goldman Sachs, in the past decade, China has accumulatively contributed more than 20% to world economy. China’s success can be ascribed to many factors. But personally, I think the most important reason is that China found her own path of development, established her own social institutions, and proposed her own developmental theories, which have ever since been up to further improvement to meet new challenges. Although China made rapid progress over the years and our country has become the second largest economy in the world, we are always aware that as the most populous country in the world, China remains a developing country, facing all kinds of challenges in our development. We are going to keep on exploring ways of reform and development. Our interaction and integration with the rest of world will be further strengthened. Meanwhile, China will try her best to stay on the right track of development. As a big country with a huge population of over 1.3 billion, if China maintains her progress and stability, it can be good news enough to the rest of world.  In addition, China is to get actively involved in mutual-beneficial cooperation with other countries. Against the backdrop of globalization and ever-increasing interdependence among countries, more often than not human beings are faced with challenges which could only be tackled with joint efforts of different countries. China is always in the position to collaborate with others to promote world peace and prosperity.

 I understand that Chinese President Xi Jinping recently proposed the notion of “Chinese Dream.” In your opinion, how is “Chinese Dream” related to Africa, and Nigeria in particular?

First of all, what is the “Chinese Dream”? It is the dream of generations of Chinese people, representing the common wishes of all Chinese. As early as over 2000 years ago, the Chinese sage, Confucius, proposed the idea of setting up a harmonious society free from obsession with self-interest and harsh conflicts, which constitutes an influential part of Chinese civilization. However, in spite of her rich culture, China experienced almost 100 years of humiliation in recent history. Ever since then, the revival of the Chinese nation has become the dream of Chinese people. Last year, President Xi explained the Chinese Dream this way: a prosperous and strong China, a revived Chinese nation, and a contented life for the Chinese people. To realize the Chinese Dream, the Communist Party of China has drawn up a very clear roadmap, including two main goals. The first is to double both GDP and per capita income by 2020 on the basis of the 2010 level. The second goal is to turn China into a rich, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious country by the middle of this century.  Now the over 1.3 billion Chinese people are working hard to realize the Chinese dream. The over one billion African people including our fellow Nigerians are committed to the African dream of gaining strength from unity and achieving development and rejuvenation. The two Dreams are highly interconnected. By joining our hands together, our dreams are destined to come true.

broadcast, navigation and broadband access and also provided services for Africa, Europe and Asian continents. People-to-people communication and cultural exchanges are an integral part of our bilateral relations. Both countries enjoy ancient civilizations and splendid cultures, and we could often find similarities in our value systems and world views. However, we still want to know more about each other. In the just concluded African Arts and Crafts Expo, the Chinese delegation showcased the exquisite Chinese handicraft, most of which are acknowledged as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, two Confucius centers have been founded in Nigeria namely in Lagos University and Nnamdi Azikiwe University. Besides, a Nigerian culture week in China last year impressed many Chinese people.

But as a major global economic power, China will naturally enjoy a better trade advantage while dealing with Nigeria, how is trade going between the two countries?

In 2012, the trade volume between the two countries reached USD 10.57 billion.  In my view, our two economies are highly complementary, and the cooperative relations have huge potential and broad prospects. Nigeria is one of the top crude oil producers and exporters in the world. Like many other countries in the world, China is willing to import crude oil from Nigeria.

However, compared with Nigeria’s other trading partners, the amount of crude oil exported to China is much lower, which only constitutes 1% to 2% percent of Nigeria’s total crude oil export. Our two countries have been managing to diversify the trade relations. In August 2011, China imported 1.1million metric tons of Cassava chips from Nigeria. We Chinese side shall continue to encourage more import of non-oil items from Nigeria, especially agricultural products.

Another issue of concern is how to get Chinese visa, are you considering anything like relaxing visa rules for businessmen since you want trade to improve between the countries?

Relationship between two countries is based on the communication between their peoples. This is why the Chinese embassy has been taking a lot of measures and trying our best to satisfy the increasing visa demands of the Nigerian people. During the rush seasons like before the Canton Trade Fair is to be held, the consular section sometimes even opens at weekends and holidays. Besides, more visa officers will be on duty and often they have to work overtime to manage the ever-increasing workload.

There are also special application procedures for delegations to facilitate the process. For Nigerians who have been to China before and have kept a good record, we are prone to granting them multiple-entry visa. However, all the relevant works should be based on the policy of visa application. And what I want to point out is that the visa application policies of our two countries are reciprocal. As there are people complaining of the strict procedure of visa application, there are also Nigerian friends commending it for creating a favourable environment for their trips to China because nowadays Nigerians visiting China are mostly well educated, presenting a positive image of Nigeria.

As you are aware, Nigeria currently has security challenges, how would China like to assist in this regard?

China and Nigeria have a lot in common. Both our cultures attach much importance to forgiveness, tolerance and resilience. The Nigerian government has already taken various measures, including dialogue, to tackle the current situation of insurgency. I believe the Nigerian government and people will work out a way to solve the problem. During the years, China has engaged in promoting infrastructure here and increased direct investment in Nigeria, creating jobs for Nigerian people and boosting the economic development of Nigeria. In a sense, all these contributions will help to stabilize the Nigerian society.

In spite of attempts by China to reach out to other countries, it does appear to allow dominance of the western media in presenting information on China to Africans, which often turns out negative. How is China working to clarify its image and intentions to Africans themselves?

I am very glad to know that our Nigerian media friends have noticed this, and I think in this regard Nigeria also suffers the same fate. Before I came to Nigeria, little of the information I got about Nigeria from the western media were positive, which made me feel sort of disappointed.

However, after I came here, I saw a totally different picture. Nigeria is making progress at her own pace; most parts of Nigeria enjoy peace; and Nigerian people are very friendly. This reminds me of a Nigerian saying, that “truth is like oil. No matter how much water you pour on it, it floats.” I came to Nigeria, and I see a real Nigeria. I think with the communications and visits going on between our two countries, more and more Nigerian people will get to know the real China.

As the second largest economy in the world and still making progress, how would you comment on China’s development? In which way will China’s development influences the world?

Ever since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, especially over the past three decades, China has been witnessing great changes and making notable achievements. In the most recent 10 years, China’s economic aggregate rose fourfold, increasing from 4.4% to about 10% of the world economic aggregate. Meanwhile, per capita GDP of China grew from $1,135 to $6,100, Chinese people’s living standard and social welfare system remarkably enhanced. China’s development has made great contributions to world economy. According to a study by Goldman Sachs, in the past decade, China has accumulatively contributed more than 20% to world economy.  China’s success can be ascribed to many factors. But personally, I think the most important reason is that China found her own path of development, established her own social institutions, and proposed her own developmental theories, which have ever since been up to further improvement to meet new challenges.

 I understand that Chinese President Xi Jinping recently proposed the notion of “Chinese Dream.” In your opinion, how is “Chinese Dream” related to Africa, and Nigeria in particular?

First of all, what is the “Chinese Dream”? It is the dream of generations of Chinese people, representing the common wishes of all Chinese. As early as over 2000 years ago, the Chinese sage, Confucius, proposed the idea of setting up a harmonious society free from obsession with self-interest and harsh conflicts, which constitutes an influential part of Chinese civilization.  However, in spite of her rich culture, China experienced almost 100 years of humiliation in recent history. Ever since then, the revival of the Chinese nation has become the dream of Chinese people. Last year, President Xi explained the Chinese Dream this way: a prosperous and strong China, a revived Chinese nation, and a contented life for the Chinese people.

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