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Nigeria, China to sign Defence, Trade, Economic Cooperation agreements

Existing bilateral relations between Nigeria and China will receive a significant boost next week with the signing of at least four major agreements between the two countries when President Goodluck Jonathan leads a high-powered team to a five-day state visit to China from 9 July, 2013, PANA reported Thursday, quoting a statement from the presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati.

It said that the Nigerian team will be made up of state governors, members of the National Assembly and key ministers.

According to the statement, “The agreements which will be signed after high-level talks between President Jonathan’s delegation and President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and other senior Chinese government officials, include an Agreement on Defence Cooperation between Nigeria and China.

“Others are an agreement on economic and technical cooperation; an agreement on finance for the Zungeru power plant and Airport terminals; and an agreement on mutual visa exemption for holders of diplomatic and official Passports.”

Also to be tabled for discussion at the talks will be an agreement for the Central Bank of Nigeria to invest in China’s Inter-Bank Bond Market through the Peoples’ Bank of China, and an agreement for the prevention of the theft, illicit import and export of cultural property.

The statement said the successful conclusion of the agreements and other Memoranda of Understanding for increased bilateral cooperation in areas including the development of public infrastructure, oil and gas, power supply, agriculture, communications and tourism, is expected to consolidate the already cordial political, trade and economic relations between Nigeria and China.

President Jonathan will also seek additional Chinese investment for the Mambila Hydro Electric Project, rail modernization, road construction and agricultural development, the statement indicated.

It said the president will be accompanied to China by Governor Theodore Orji of the South East Abia State, Governor Isa Yuguda of the North Central Bauchi State, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of the N orth East Gombe State and Governor Peter Obi of the South East Anambra State.

President Jonathan’s entourage will also include the following ministers:- Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy),  Mr. Olusegun Aganga – Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke – Petroleum Resources,  Mr. Mike Onolememen – Works, and Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina – Agriculture.

Others are the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, Justice – Mr. Mohammed Adoke, National Planning – Alhaji Shamsudeen Usman, Alhaji Idris Umar – Transport, Alhaji Mohammed Sada – Solid Minerals, Chief Edem Duke – Culture and Tourism, and the Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada.

In furtherance of his efforts to attract greater direct Chinese investment to the Nigerian economy, President Jonathan will on Thursday, 11 July, participate in a special session of the Nigeria/China Investment Forum which will be attended by leading Chinese investors and their Nigerian counterparts.

He will also hold separate meetings with the Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers of leading Chinese conglomerates such as Huawei, SINOPEC and ZTE with the same objective in mind.

Before returning to Abuja on Saturday, 13 July, the President and his delegation will visit Daqing in China’s Heilongjiang Province to confer with leaders of the Provincial government and tour the Daqing Petrochemical Industry and Agricultural Demonstration Farm.

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