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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

Wen's Middle East bonanza

By Hu Yinan (China Daily)

08:10, January 19, 2012

Premier Wen Jiabao and the ruler of Sharjah, Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qassimi, attend the Arab-China Business Conference in the Gulf emirate on Wednesday. (China Daily Photo)

SHARJAH, UAE - China signed economic and trade agreements worth 100 billion yuan ($16 billion) with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as Premier Wen Jiabao wrapped up a six-day visit to the Middle East on Thursday.

The first currency swap agreement with Arab nations, worth 35 billion yuan, was also signed in Abu Dhabi, Wen told the Fourth Arab-China Business Conference in Sharjah on Wednesday.

The premier arrived in Qatar, the final leg of his landmark Middle East tour, shortly after addressing the forum in Sharjah.

After meetings in Doha, the Qatari capital, Wen will depart for Beijing on Thursday.

Wen said on Wednesday that China had signed more than a dozen agreements, across a broad range of sectors, including trade, energy, infrastructure, finance and culture, with the Saudi and UAE governments.

Sinopec on Saturday sealed an $8.5 billion deal with Saudi oil powerhouse Aramco for a joint venture oil refinery that will become operational in 2014. About 10 percent of the project had already been completed, according to Sinopec.

The Dubai-based Gulf News newspaper said an agreement was signed on Tuesday between the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and the China National Petroleum Corp to develop upstream projects.

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