China, Arab world working on new Silk Road

19:56, May 13, 2010      

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The old Silk Road with a history of some 2,000 years has long linked China to the Arab world. A new Silk Road featuring close trade and economic cooperation is now being built by the two sides through their joint efforts.

The fourth Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum, which starts in China's northern port city of Tianjin on Thursday, is expected to inject new vigor into bilateral trade and economic cooperation.


Sino-Arab cooperation began with economic and trade exchanges. The China-Arab Cooperation Forum was set up in 2004, and now has become an important platform for mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation between the two sides.

President Hu Jintao said in the early days of the forum that the two sides should deepen their economic and trade exchanges based on the goal of common development.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa also believes there is great potential in the Sino-Arab economic and trade cooperation and more dimensions should be given to the cooperation.

China and the Arab countries are highly complementary in the fields of energy, market, technology and so on. Arab countries have geographical advantages, rich resources and abundant capital, while Chinese companies have mature technology and industry support.

Promoting the mutually beneficial Sino-Arab economic and trade cooperation has been high on the agenda of the forum, to which end the two sides have set up a conference between Chinese and Arab entrepreneurs, special economic and trade seminars, and meetings on energy cooperation.

The China-Arab entrepreneur conference, which is hosted in turn by China and Arab countries every two years, has been held three times.

Participants in the conference have held in-depth discussions on the status quo as well as the outlook of the Sino-Arab economic trade cooperation. They also have talked about how to promote trade and investment, and deepen mutual understanding between business circles of the two sides.

Statistics show that before the Sino-Arab Cooperation Forum was set up, the Sino-Arab trade volume stood at 25.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2003, followed by 36.7 billion dollars in 2004. The trade volume soared to 132.9 billion dollars in 2008, achieving the goal of increasing bilateral trade volume to 100 billion dollars ahead of time.

Besides, the two-way investment between China and the Arab countries continued to increase.

In 2003, China's direct investment in Arab nations was merely 17.3 million dollars, but in 2004 that figure jumped to 182 million dollars.

By the end of 2008, the Arab investment in China reached 1.5 billion dollars and the Chinese investment in Arab countries topped 2.65 billion dollars.

China and the Arab countries have also made big headway in construction project contracts and labor services.

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