China Premier Li Kequiang. Pic: AP.

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has set off for a four-country tour of Africa, acknowledging “growing pains” in China-Africa cooperation.

In a news release quoted by the state news agency Sunday, Li urged Chinese companies to strictly abide by local laws and regulations, hold themselves accountable for the quality of their projects and goods and to consumers, and “shoulder due responsibility” for local communities and the environment.

Last year, China-Africa trade reached $210 billion, with more than 2,500 Chinese companies operating on the continent, according to Xinhua. But tensions exist around allegations of shoddy construction and a lack of respect for employment and other local laws.

Li says companies have encountered “growing pains” and the Chinese government takes such issues seriously.

Li is visiting Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya.

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