Zao LingXiang, Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
The total amount of export to China was only about one million barrels in 2015 that was just 1.3 per cent of Nigerian annual oil export.
“In my opinion, it really doesn’t matter whether Iran comes back or not; Chinese companies want to import more crude oil from Nigeria,” he said.
He said that current trade volume between both countries stood at $14.94 billion in 2014 making Nigeria third largest trade partner of China in Africa.
The economic counsellor added that Nigeria’s trade figure was 8.3 per cent of China’s total trade volume with Africa and 42 per cent of the total trade volume between China and Africa.
He said that China also sought to explore other areas of cooperation with Nigeria which he noted would be of benefit to both parties.
“China is the largest developing country in the world and Nigeria is the largest developing country in Africa and both countries have complementary advantages in natural and human resources, funds and markets.
“Right now, the Nigerian Government is trying to diversify its economy which is fully in line with the 10 China-Africa cooperation plans announced at the summit on China-Africa trade in Johannesburg in 2015.
“There are great potential for cooperation between China and Nigeria in the fields of industrialisation, agricultural modernisation, infrastructure construction, financial services, trade and investment facilitation, among others.”
He, however, added that both countries had made “remarkable achievements” in the areas of infrastructure cooperation.
He said that the coming visit of President Muhammad Buhari to China in April would facilitate the implementation of agreements reached at the 2015 China-African summit in Johannesburg.
The economic counsellor further added that the president’s visit would also deepen cooperation between both countries.
Mr. LinXiang explained that the total investment volume between China and Africa exceeded $100 billion in 2015 in spite of the decline in imports from Africa.
He also assured that Africa remained China’s largest trade partner despite recent changes in that country’s economy.
“The amount in import from Africa to China declined but did not decline remarkably.
“Moreover, the economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa is not only about trade but technical cooperation as well.
“China’s total investment volume in Africa last year increased by 100 times more in a short span of 10 years, which shows that cooperation between both parties is moving to a new level,” he said.