In 2016, Chinese MOFCOM comprehensively implemented the spirits of the 18th CPC National Congress, the third, fourth, fifth and sixth Plenary Sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee, made in-depth study and carried out the speech spirits of General Secretary Xi Jinping. Following the unified deployment of the central committee and the State Council, under the framework of jointly building the “Belt and Road”, MOFCOM, in the principles of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, has overcome the difficulty of regional turmoil, enhanced strategic docking with Arabian countries and promoted the constant development of China-Arabian countries’ trade and economic cooperation. At the beginning of 2016, President Xi Jinping visited Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the headquarter of League of Arab States and the Secretariat of Gulf Cooperation Council successively. The Chinese government released China’s Arab Policy Paper, indicating a direction for China-Arabian countries’ trade and economic cooperation. Bilateral cooperation was constantly extended and a new landscape began to take on.
China Maintains to be the main trading partner of Arabian countries. In 2016, China-Arabian countries trade value amounted to US$171.14 billion. Among these, China’s exports to Arabia reached US$100.84 billion, China’s imports from Arabia reached US$70.3 billion, and China continues to be the largest trading partner of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq. Arabian countries are still China’s main source of crude oil, and in 2016, China has imported a total of 150 million tons of crude oil from Arabian countries, up 3.7% year on year, taking up 40.5% of China’s total imports of crude oil.
China’s contracted projects in Arabian countries continued to expand. In 2016, the contract value of China’s newly-signed contracted projects in Arabian countries amounted to US$40.37 billion, up 40.8% year on year, taking up 16% of China’s total, with 2.9 percentage points higher than that in 2015. The turnover was US$33.6 billion, going up 10.6% year on year. Chinese business has rising enthusiasm for engaging in project investment and financing and integration cooperation, meanwhile, their awareness of various risks and coping ability has been gradually improved.
Chinese investment in Arabian countries saw rapid growth. In 2016, Chinese enterprises made a non-financial direct investment of US$1.15 billion in Arabian countries, up 74.9% year on year, with 30.8 percentage points higher than China’s non-financial direct investment over the same period of time. The Silk Road Fund shared 7.4% equity of clean coal power plant project in the United Arab Emirates and has become a precedent. In the wake of China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, Saudi Arabia and Oman also began to negotiate with China on development and cooperation in industrial park. The Chinese Industrial Park, invested by Chinese enterprises in Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm, has launched the infrastructure construction.
The “1+2+3” cooperation pattern for China-Arabian countries cooperation has begun to take shape. China’s energy cooperation with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Sudan is gradually deepened. Major cooperation projects in power, communication, transport and industrial parks with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Algeria have sprung up, and China-GCC FTA was re-launched and paced up. Breakthroughs have been made in nuclear, space satellite and new energy cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Algeria.
New ideas and models for China-Arabian countries sprang up. In finance, Chinese-funded banks were engaged in local financing, and they issued bonds in Arabian countries, popularized Renminbi business and China-Arab (UAE) Joint Investment Fund has begun capital injection. In high-tech area, bilateral cooperation in smart city, e-commerce and cloud data processing has kicked off. In logistics, Chinese enterprises have set up websites and exhibition halls in local countries to provide online trade and logistics distribution service. In tourism, air lines increased, countries like Morocco and United Arab Emirates relaxed visa procedures for Chinese people and the commercial exchanges have become more active.
2017 is a major year for the implementation of the 13th five-year plan and also a year to deepen the supply-side structural reforms. MOFCOM will stick to the guide of “Belt and Road” cooperation, innovate cooperation ideas, open a new landscape of China-Arabian cooperation, enrich and deepen China-Arabian strategic cooperation partnership and greet the 19th CPC National Congress with good achievements.