Kampala: China is considering granting Uganda's exports duty free and tariff free access to the Chinese market starting July 1, 2012, according to Zhao Yali, the new Chinese ambassador to Uganda.
Zhao Yali, and his wife Yu Weixing, hosted Ugandan Journalists to a reception at the Chinese embassy in Kololo. The journalists were from print, radio and television media houses in the country.
Zhao said that there has been significant progress in trade and economic cooperation between Uganda and China. He cited that between 1993 and last year, the total amount of Chinese investment in Uganda reached US$ 596 million.
Also, 265 Chinese companies had by last year established business in Uganda, and created 280,000 jobs for Ugandans, according to ambassador Zhao
On bi-lateral trade between the two countries, he said China's exports to Uganda stood at US$359 million by last year, while Uganda's exports to China were worth US$ 40million. But this could be boosted by the duty and tariff free imitative which could commence this July.
Zhao also said that Uganda has benefitted from a debt cancelation initiative of all interest free loans received from China before 2005.
He enumerated that China has provided finances to construct infrastructure in Uganda over the years, such Namboole Stadium, Foreign Affairs ministry, Statistics House, President's Office and the Agricultural Technology Demonstration Centre at Kajjansi.
Also the planned construction of a US$ 350 million Toll Road from Kampala to Entebbe International Airport will commence this year, with a loan funding from the China Import and Export Bank. In the area of Health, China has donated anti-Malarial drugs to Uganda and built the Naguru Hospital.
Zhao added, “As far as oil is concerned, CNOOC signed the farm- down agreement with Tullow for the exploration of oil in Uganda. We hope CNOOC will start very soon its operations. And some Chinese companies have attended the bidding for the construction of Karuma Hydro power station.”
Zhao, who is the 16th Chinese ambassador to serve in Uganda said that China was among the first countries to recognize Uganda's Independence and established diplomatic relations with Uganda on 18th October, 1962.
He urged Ugandan media to play a role in promoting good bi-lateral relations between the two countries at the inter-governmental as well as people - to- people levels.
He also hauled Uganda for having supported China in 1971 to restore its membership to United Nations and status to the UN Security Council. Zhao also said that President Yoweri Museveni's visits to China, as well as visits by top Chinese leaders to Uganda, have contributed to the improving of political trust between the two countries.