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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007, 15:56 GMT
Key Africa visit for China's Hu
Hu Jintao and Thabo Mbeki in South Africa
Mr Hu is on a 12-day tour of African states
Chinese President Hu Jintao has arrived in South Africa, his country's key trading partner in Africa.

Trade between China and South Africa has grown rapidly since diplomatic ties were established nine years ago.

However, China's commercial success is causing African concern about a flood of cheap imports, correspondents say.

A new quota system is designed to give garment manufacturers in South Africa the chance to recover over the next three years.

While in South Africa, Mr Hu is expected to announce $2.6m in grant money to support training and agricultural development.

His visit comes amid criticism by some western governments over China's dominance in Africa and its support of countries with poor human rights records, like Zimbabwe and Sudan.

In Namibia, for example, Chinese companies are unburdened by minimum wages and labour laws and frequently undercut local construction companies, correspondents note.

Last week in Khartoum, Mr Hu agreed on a series of deals with Sudan, which China has protected from UN sanctions over the Darfur conflict.

South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance has urged President Thabo Mbeki make sure China should apply "good governance and sound human rights practices" in its dealings with South Africa.

Tourism boost

Mr Hu, on a 12-day tour of African states, arrived from Namibia where he announced a package of development aid for the mineral-rich nation.

Mr Hu praised the "brotherly friendship" shown by a "young country full of vitality and talent".

Namibia's President, Hifikepunye Pohamba, has encouraged co-operation and trade between the two nations.

In the first 11 months of 2006, trade between Namibia and China rose by more than 100% compared with the previous year.

The two presidents signed agreements on economic and technical co-operation as well as deals to boost the number of Chinese tourists who visit the country.

Mr Hu's 12-day Africa tour, which has already taken him to Zambia and Sudan, will also see visits to Mozambique and the Seychelles.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Presidents Hu Jintao and Thabo Mbeki



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