Gains and losses of Sino-Arab economic cooperation

By Zhang Jingwei
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, January 20, 2016
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Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) meets with Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Ameen Madani in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 19, 2016. Xi arrived here on Tuesday for a state visit to Saudi Arabia, the first stop of his three-nation tour of the Middle East. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Arab world is in tumult. From North Africa to the Middle East, the rising of the Islamic State, the deterioration of Syria, the conflicts between the Shiite and Sunni Muslim sects, as well as U.S.-Russia rifts over their geopolitical interests in the Middle East, all add fuel to the flames.

China, although not deeply involved in geopolitical affairs, has also been affected as the Middle East is one of its major energy suppliers and an important junction in its "Belt and Road" initiative.

Statistics show the trade volume between China and Arab countries reached US$251.2 billion in 2014, compared to only US$36.7 billion in 2004. China has become the biggest trade partner of nine Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar. Arab countries have become important crude oil suppliers and markets for contracted projects and overseas investment by Chinese enterprises.

Therefore, it is China's mission to deepen economic and trade cooperation with the Arab world and participate in regional peace-building and socio-economic restructuring .

In recent years, major petroleum exporting countries in the Middle East have faced challenges from a sluggish economy and revenue reduction due to a continuous oil price slump amid a glut of supplies.

Meanwhile, the Chinese economy has entered the stage of the "New Normal" with worsening overcapacity and reduction in demand. The "Belt and Road" initiative provides opportunities for economic readjustment and a significant period of transition for China and the Arab countries.

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