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China Commerce Vice Minister: Riyadh, Beijing to Set up $20 Bln Investment Fund

China Commerce Vice Minister: Riyadh, Beijing to Set up $20 Bln Investment Fund

Sunday, 5 November, 2017 - 11:00
China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Qian Keming. (Reuters)

China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Qian Keming unveiled a new Beijing initiative that demonstrates the ruling party’s commitment to open up to the world in a new comprehensive way by carrying out structural reform to push economic development towards change and accelerate the process of completing the socialist market economy system.

On the level of Saudi-Chinese cooperation, Keming explained that Beijing and Riyadh intend to set up a $20 billion fund to invest in the infrastructure, energy, mining and raw materials sectors

He revealed that he discussed with his Saudi counterpart boosting exchanges in these fields, expanding cooperation and supporting joint projects.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Keming said that Saudi Arabia is the largest trading partner of his country in West Asia and in Africa. It was China’s largest supplier of crude oil from 2001 and until 2016. China imports more than 55 million tons of crude oil from the Kingdom annually.

He stressed Beijing’s desire to exchange expertise in the field of development, to strengthen bilateral economic and trade relations and achieve comprehensive cooperation in various fields.

Keming recently headed his country’s delegation at the Future Investment Initiative that was hosted in Riyadh. The delegation included 20 representatives of Chinese companies.

He noted that the production and export of products to Saudi Aramco’s Yanbu refinery and China's Sinopec has started, adding that the joint investment reached 9.3 billion dollars.

Chinese companies invest in building factories in the Kingdom, with a capital of $2.5 billion, said Keming. He pointed out that the volume of bilateral trade fell slightly because of the drop in oil prices, but it exceeds 40 billion dollars today.

When asked about the transformation that Saudi Arabia is seeking economically and commercially, Keming said that Riyadh has achieved a remarkable boom in the field of economy, trade and investment since the implementation of Vision 2030, especially in the area of investment.

“The Kingdom has expanded and opened the door to allow foreign investors to enter the Gulf market as many remarkable Chinese companies received their license, and I think that Saudi Arabia will seek to diversify the economy and enhance the ability to dispense oil constantly,” he noted.

He pointed out the Saudi transformation program reflects the Kingdom's determination and confidence to create global partners.

Talking about the advantages of the integration between the two countries in the fields of energy, infrastructure, advanced technology and finance, the Chinese official stated that they both sides have a long road ahead of them.

In the energy cooperation field, for instance, he said that Saudi Arabia has huge reserves of crude oil and advanced capacity to extract and refine it. It has also established a complete petrochemical industry, covering all sectors.

China, for its part, has the ability to resume extraction of oil and gas wells and scientific research. It also has an advantage in operation and management.

The two countries can therefore deepen the comprehensive organic cooperation, in various fields, to achieve complementary advantages and common development, stressed Keming.

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