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China's rise to power. Grouped economies being formed globally.

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  • caribdigita
    Article: MARVELLING: China shows initiative - by ORLANDO MARVILLE Date: Sunday, February 01st, 2004 Source: www.NationNews.com - Barbados Daily Nation News
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 2, 2004
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      Article: MARVELLING: China shows initiative - by ORLANDO MARVILLE
      Date: Sunday, February 01st, 2004
      Source: www.NationNews.com - Barbados Daily Nation News

      Link: http://www.nationnews.com/StoryView.cfm?
      Record=46819&Section=Life&Current=2004%2D02%2D01%2000%3A00%3A00

      While the Western media ended the past year with tales of mayhem in
      Iraq or preparations for Christmas around the world, there was a
      quiet (or at least little reported) meeting going on in Addis Ababa,
      the headquarters of the African Union, reported on by PANA, the Pan
      African News Agency. While the West was concentrating on the civil
      wars and displacement caused by such wars and the decimation caused
      by HIV/AIDS all in Africa, China had decided to fill the void left by
      centuries of European exploitation and neglect.

      Just one week before Christmas, about 650 delegates descended on
      Addis, 185 of them from China, including Wan Jiabao, premier and a
      few vice-presidents (VPs) of important Chinese corporations. Around
      47 countries were represented. They were ready for the Africa-China
      Forum.

      Perhaps the most immediate result of the gathering was that China
      forgave 31 African countries a debt of US$1.27 billion. Additionally,
      all African goods would enter China on a zero tariff basis.

      Liberia, better known for the horrors of its recent civil war and the
      excesses of its now deposed President Charles Taylor, offered the
      opinion that Africa should now also recognise the importance of intra-
      Africa trade as a preparation for the wider world of commerce. One
      hopes that such optimism rings truer than it does in the Caribbean
      context.

      Tanzania invited some Chinese firms in to explore the possibility of
      manufacturing joint ventures with a view to producing
      pharmaceuticals, tractors and mining its vast deposits of iron ore.
      For China Steel, this was a giant opportunity. As the Chinese say,
      the longest distance begins with a step.

      China last year consumed more iron ore for steel production than the
      United States, Japan and South Korea put together. An open door for
      the acquisition of raw material was therefore not to be sniffed at.
      The Chinese were not to be outdone in terms of an optimistic approach
      to the possibilities. They felt that through joint ventures it would
      be possible to process raw materials and create job opportunities for
      local African people.

      China was also interested in mining South Africa's vast resources of
      manganese as well as in increasing its production of steel. Its
      import volumes of 147 million tonnes of iron ore will undoubtedly
      rise from 2003 levels at the earliest possible moment. The Chinese
      delegation was also impressed by their African hosts' eagerness to do
      business with China and this translated into some fairly blunt
      statements on European disrespect for Africa on both sides. China
      also pledged enhanced support for Africa without any political
      discrimination. This allowed President Mugabe a long-awaited
      opportunity to strike out at the British.

      In the meantime, at the business level, the momentum was maintained
      by the female vice-president of Shandong Huanri Group. She was eager
      to establish factories for the manufacture of LPG cylinders, water
      valves and oil pipelines in Cameroon, Sudan and Tanzania.

      Clearly China is thinking way beyond an ill-defined war on terrorism,
      which it also embraces, to a world where it will be possible to be a
      world power without swagger, but with the economic and moral power to
      change the developing world while China itself assumes its role not
      only as a great economic power, but also as a space contender and a
      new champion in the world of knowledge.

      Indeed, China and Africa pledged to build stronger economic and
      political ties to counter Western dominance in world affairs as well
      as to improve the status of poor countries.

      One sees in this historic meeting place the continuation of what
      happened in Mexico. While China and its African partners are unlikely
      to give up on the World Trade Organisation, they recognise that the
      best way to move forward is not to wait for another round of trade
      talks where, undoubtedly the West will refuse to do away with the
      enormous subsidies on farm goods, and the most likely outcome will be
      another stalemate with China, India, Brazil and other non-Western
      countries holding firm to their view that a level playing field has
      to be horizontal as well as level.

      The interesting scenario here is that Africa, left perhaps to be
      again taken up when HIV/AIDS has ravaged more of its population (and
      even then on Europe's terms) has proven itself a small, but very
      interesting market for China.

      As the Chinese repeatedly said, China possesses the technology and
      Africa has the resources. With mutual respect and understanding, the
      possibility for the beginning of a new era has emerged. While Europe
      bothers about enlargement and whether the French and Germans should
      be penalised for ignoring the Community's financial rules, and the
      United States concerns itself with quickly getting out of Iraq in
      preparation for elections, China has taken an initiative which can
      only be described as good news.[-End]
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