Foreign ministers from China and several African countries began their first annual talks Wednesday, AFP reported. The foreign ministers' meeting is the first since a China-Africa leaders' summit was held in Beijing in November 2006, where President Hu Jintao announced a China-Africa Development Fund to encourage Chinese investment in Africa. China is Africa's second-largest trading partner after the European Union. Sino-African trade hit US$39.3 billion for the first half of this year, up nearly 30% year-on-year. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Beijing would write off debts, offer tax exemptions and step up development in Africa to encourage trade links.