Beijing: China, GCC Complete 90% of Free Trade Agreement

The first session of the China and the Gulf Cooperation Council economic trade forum in China last year (GCC General Secretariat website)
The first session of the China and the Gulf Cooperation Council economic trade forum in China last year (GCC General Secretariat website)
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Beijing: China, GCC Complete 90% of Free Trade Agreement

The first session of the China and the Gulf Cooperation Council economic trade forum in China last year (GCC General Secretariat website)
The first session of the China and the Gulf Cooperation Council economic trade forum in China last year (GCC General Secretariat website)

About 90% of the terms of the free trade negotiations between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have been completed, announced China’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chen Weiqing.
Weiqing announced that the two parties have achieved significant progress in the recent period. He explained that China is in constant contact with the Arab Gulf states regarding the deal, calling for more "flexibility on both sides."
The first session of the meeting of economic and trade ministers from China and the GCC states was held in Guangzhou in October 2023 after ten rounds of technical negotiations and meetings.
During a meeting with a few journalists in Riyadh, Weiqing pointed out that the free trade negotiations between China and the Gulf states have entered their nineteenth year, making significant progress recently.
He noted that about 90 percent of the problems have been settled, and the remaining ones are few but difficult.
The diplomat stressed that GCC countries are essential partners for Beijing, and signing a free trade agreement will promote trade cooperation between the two sides.
The GCC countries and China are among the largest economies in the world.
The GCC countries' GDP exceeds $2.4 trillion, while the GDP of China exceeds $17.7 trillion, according to figures from the GCC's General Secretariat.
Trade exchange between the GCC countries and China is developing strongly. Beijing is considered the largest trading partner of the Gulf countries.
Statistics show that bilateral trade volume between the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and China exceeded $315 billion in 2022.
Energy and its derivatives, machinery, electrical appliances, and automatic equipment constituted the largest share of the trade exchange.
Gulf countries' energy exports to China exceeded 80%, while their imports of machinery and electrical appliances exceeded 35%.
The Chinese ambassador revealed that Beijing is in contact with the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council, aiming to hold a new round of technical negotiations soon.
Chen stressed that the leaders at the Chinese-Gulf summit held in 2022 expressed their intention to accelerate these negotiations, preferring not to go into details about the remaining contentious points.
- Car factory
Furthermore, the Chinese ambassador revealed that discussions are taking place to establish a Chinese car factory in Saudi Arabia, praising the significant development in Chinese car sales in the Saudi market in recent years.
He reported that a delegation from one of the largest Chinese automobile companies discussed the establishment of a factory in the Kingdom with the Saudi Ministry of Investment.
The Chinese delegation will visit the Kingdom before the holy month of Ramadan to discuss the agreement's details.
Weiqing noted that Chinese cars have become more prevalent in Saudi Arabia, adding that in 2019, only one Chinese car brand was on the list of top ten car sales in the Kingdom, while now the list includes six.



Construction Begins on ‘Banan City’ Project in Riyadh

Engineers oversee construction work at “Banan City” Project in northern Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Engineers oversee construction work at “Banan City” Project in northern Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Construction Begins on ‘Banan City’ Project in Riyadh

Engineers oversee construction work at “Banan City” Project in northern Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Engineers oversee construction work at “Banan City” Project in northern Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi Talaat Moustafa Group announced on Saturday that construction work has commenced on the “Banan City” Project in Riyadh’s northeastern Al-Fursan suburb.
The company stated that operations are underway around the clock, adhering to construction schedules and plans. Heavy and operational equipment are fully deployed to deliver units to owners sequentially.
Banan City is set to be a smart city spanning 10 million square meters in northeastern Riyadh.
It aims to offer an unprecedented quality of life to over 120,000 residents within a gated community. The development will integrate cutting-edge smart city technologies with residential privacy and the latest sustainability standards.
In May, the National Housing Company and Saudi Talaat Moustafa Group laid the foundation for “Banan City” and began accepting reservations.
On July 9, the group disclosed to the Egyptian stock exchange that “Banan City,” described as a sustainable city, has achieved unprecedented sales since its launch in May, surpassing the first-year sales target in just two months.
Hesham Talaat Moustafa, Chairman of Saudi Talaat Moustafa Group, projected the project’s revenue at around 40 billion Saudi riyals ($12 billion), with a total investment cost estimated at 31.4 billion riyals.