The sixth China-Arab States Expo will be held from September 21-24 in Yinchuan, capital of Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and preparations are going smoothly, China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Monday.
Saudi Arabia will be the guest of honor, Wang Li, a senior official from Ningxia, told a press briefing. Saudi Arabia is China's top trading partner in the Middle East, with bilateral trade standing at $116 billion in 2022, the first economy in the region with bilateral trade with China exceeding $100 billion.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Wang noted.
The expo has been held five times previously in Ningxia, attracting more than 6,000 international and domestic companies with 1,213 cooperation deals being signed.
This year, more than 10,000 participants, 670 Chinese associations and enterprises along with more than 60 foreign associations and firms, including Saudi Aramco, are expected to participate in the event, said Wang. So far in 2023, tbe expo has led to more than 130 projects worth 81.6 billion yuan ($11.5 billion).
Vice Minister of Commerce Li Fei noted that the expo will hold exhibitions targeting Chinese state-run enterprises, intelligent meteorology, and equipment manufacturing and technology for the first time, thus demonstrating the advantages of cooperation in trade, energy and infrastructure and more.
The exhibition area will reach 40,000 square meters.
Cooperation between China and Arab countries under the BRI is progressing smoothly, with trade and investment booming along with enhanced cooperation on infrastructure construction.
China remains the top trading partner for the Arab region in the first half of 2023, when bilateral trade reached $199.9 billion. China exported $90.1 billion of goods to the Arab countries and imported goods worth $109.8 billion, said Li.
Two-way investment also expanded. China's new direct investment in the Arab world rose $1.44 billion, a year-on-year rise of 7 percent, while new investment from Arab countries into China amounted to $2.15 billion.
The 10th Arab-China Business Conference, to be the largest business gathering between China and Arab countries, was held in June in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Thirty economic and trade agreements with a total value of more than 70 billion yuan were signed, according to media reports.