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China, S. Africa Sign Trade Pact

March 31, 1998

BEIJING (AP) _ China and South Africa have signed an agreement to boost trade and economic cooperation, a state-run newspaper reported Tuesday.

The trade pact was signed Monday during a visit to Beijing by the South African trade and industry minister, Alec Erwin, who is leading a delegation of more than 100 business people, the China Daily said.

South Africa is China’s largest trade partner in Africa, with bilateral trade of $1.57 billion last year, up from $1.35 billion in 1996.

Shi Guangsheng, China’s new foreign trade minister, predicted that trade would exceed $2 billion this year, the newspaper said.

Chinese investment and economic aid to South Africa will focus on low-cost housing, rural infrastructure and telecommunications, the state-run Xinhua News Agency quoted Shi as saying.

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