LUSAKA, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- The first China-Zambia investment forum opened Wednesday in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, with the two countries pledging to deepen trade and investment relations.
Being held under the theme "China-Zambia Trade and Investment Forum in the New Era: All-weather, All-Dimensional and High Quality Friendship," the opening ceremony was attended by Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema and Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Du Xiaohui, government officials from the two countries as well as Chinese and Zambian companies.
More than 300 Chinese and Zambian companies are participating in the two-day event with another 90 participating online.
In remarks delivered during the ceremony, the Chinese envoy said the hosting of the forum was meant to build a new platform to explore new possibilities for practical cooperation.
He said it was China's long-term and firm strategic choice to build solidarity and cooperation with Zambia. According to him, the two countries should further develop political mutual trust and cooperate more closely despite challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The two countries will actively increase trade and investment, tighten our practical cooperation and never forget to uphold international fairness and justice," he said.
He said China was prepared to collaborate with Zambia to actively carry out the Belt and Road Initiative, the Global Development Initiative, and the Global Security Initiative.
Zambian President Hichilema said the forum seeks to stimulate direct interaction between the private sector and the business communities of the two countries through the promotion of trade and investment cooperation.
While saying China remains Zambia's major trading partner, President Hichilema stressed that the increased Chinese investment must be encouraged to continue and promised that his government will continue to provide a conducive environment for investment.
He also said there was a need to promote joint ventures and encourage partnerships between Zambia and Chinese enterprises in order to stimulate value addition and industrialization.
The two countries also signed an agreement on duty-free treatment for Zambian products corresponding to 98 percent of tariff lines.