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China, Arab countries see booming trade despite political unrest

(Xinhua)

08:06, August 17, 2012

BEIJING, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Trade between China and Arab countries has maintained steady growth since 2011, despite regional political unrest.

Trade between China and countries in the Middle East and North Africa totaled 111.78 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of the year, a year-on-year growth of 22.1 percent, according to Chinese customs figures published earlier this month.

The figure was 195.9 billion U.S. dollars last year, up 34.7 percent from 2010.

Trade between China and Arab countries that were stricken by political turmoil last year notably rebounded in the first half of this year. Sino-Libyan increased by 130 percent to 4.83 billion U.S. dollars over the same period last year, the figures indicated.

Li Zhaoxian, deputy head of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said new governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have faced tough tasks in restoring their economies, adding that they are anticipating closer trade relations and more investment from China.

In May, the fifth Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum was held in the Tunisian city of Hammamet. At the meeting, Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali said Tunisia expects more Chinese companies to invest in its energy, agriculture and transport sectors.
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