Arab states and China to upgrade relations

2023-06-13 10:38:19China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

30 investment agreements worth $10b inked at Riyadh's business conference

Exchanges between the Arab states and China are set to get an upgrade after the 10th Arab-China Business Conference in Riyadh saw the signing of 30 investment agreements worth over $10 billion in several sectors on Sunday.

The sectors encompass technology, renewables, agriculture, real estate, minerals, supply chains, tourism, as well as healthcare.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Affairs Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said during his opening remarks that China was the biggest trade partner for Arab countries as the total commercial or trade exchange between the two sides hit $432 billion in 2022 with a growth of 31 percent compared to 2021.

The foreign minister said Saudi Arabia represented 25 percent of the total trade between China and the Arab states and that the volume of commercial exchange between Saudi Arabia and China saw a 30 percent increase compared to 2021, reaching $106 billion in 2022.

"We are proud of the achievements that we have through our partnership so far," said Prince Faisal, adding that this "pushes them even further" to enhance these relations based on mutual will.

This, he said, enables them to enhance and "develop the volume of our partnerships" by building and aligning what they have in their region in terms of natural resources and human resources, in order to develop their investment environment, and based on what China has, in terms of technologies and competencies that "will enable us to build our futures and our economies for the next generations".

Prince Faisal said that he is "hopeful and trustful" that "our Chinese guests will have a clearer vision of the huge opportunities of investments in the Arab region and different sectors".

"As we are here today to continue writing a new page of the history of cooperation, I'm confident it shall continue in solidarity and enrichment," Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the League of Arab States, told the forum during his speech.

'For prosperity'

Aboul Gheit said the conference, which is sponsored by Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and is running under the theme "Collaborating For Prosperity", was "considered of great importance "in light of the negative repercussions confronting the global economy and the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its implications on different sectors.

He praised the mechanisms of the Arab-China business conference for contributing toward better identification of investment opportunities for both sides which also led to the enhancement of social economic development in both China and the Arab states.

Hu Chunhua, vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, said in his speech that Arab countries "are natural partners" for building China's colossal infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative.

He said in light of the accelerating changes globally, China and Arab countries face a historic task, which is to enhance the development of their nations, and to accelerate growth.

"We will increase the quality of trade and elevate its status. Trade is a main driver for the economic globalization and main security of the supply chain globally," said Hu.

Hu also said China will create a driving force in the areas of IT, and artificial intelligence, among others, as the Arab side is also working on diversifying their economies by finding a new road for industrialization.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told the forum in a separate panel that he expects more announcements of cooperation agreements between Saudi Arabia and China. He said they no longer worked as an ecosystem alone in the energy sector and are supported by "everybody who has an additional and meaningful contribution that enables us to do our job".

"There is a great deal of synergies where the Belt and Road vision is going to and (what) our Vision 2030 is also trying to achieve," the energy minister said.


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