China, GCC to deepen cooperation in trade and investment, digital economy

A press conference room for the Sino-Arab summit at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center on Friday in Riyadh. Photo: Xing Xiaojing and Yu Jincui in Riyadh

An economic and trade ministerial meeting between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) achieved positive results, with the two countries deepening exchanges and cooperation in areas including trade and investment, digital economy, sustainable development and infrastructure, according to the Ministry of Commerce of China (MOFCOM).

The meeting was held in Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong province on Sunday. It was a concrete action to implement the economic and trade achievements of the first China-Arab Summit and the China-GCC Summit, and to promote the deepening of China-GCC economic and trade cooperation within China’s proposed Belt, One Road Initiative (BRI). The meeting was also the first time the economic and trade departments of China and the Gulf member states held a collective dialogue, experts noted.

China’s Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao, GCC Secretary-General Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi and heads of economic and trade departments of GCC member countries, including Oman, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, attended the meeting.

During the meeting, the two sides reached broad consensus on topics such as jointly safeguarding the multilateral trading system, promoting two-way investment, deepening cooperation in the industrial chain and supply chain, increasing the level of connectivity and promoting energy transformation. They adopted a joint statement on deepening economic and trade cooperation.

Wang said China’s modernization will bring new opportunities for cooperation between China and the GCC. The GCC member states are actively promoting industrial diversification, and the prospects for economic and trade cooperation between China and the GCC are broad.

Wang noted that the two countries will reach an early agreement on a free trade agreement, support and promote WTO reform, and actively promote the work of the joint investment commission and support cooperation between the two countries’ sovereign investment funds.

China and the GCC will work together to promote industrial interaction and deepen the “oil and gas +” cooperation model, and encourage enterprises from both sides to carry out investment and cooperation in accordance with market-oriented principles, Wang said. The two countries will also pragmatically explore opportunities for infrastructure cooperation in areas such as ports, aviation, communications and pipelines.

In addition, the two countries will actively promote energy transformation and continuously develop the potential for cooperation in the fields of clean energy such as photovoltaic, wind energy, nuclear energy, hydrogen and biomass, as well as in the industry of new energy vehicles such as batteries and smart charging piles , according to Wang.

All participants highly appreciated the progress made in the implementation of the economic and trade initiatives of the first China-SCC summit and unanimously stated that they will strengthen the connection of the BRI with the development strategies of the GCC member states, improve the construction of economic and mechanisms for trade cooperation and deepening exchanges and cooperation in trade and investment, digital economy, sustainable development, infrastructure and other areas based on platforms such as the meeting of ministers of economy and trade, so as to continuously cultivate new growth points of the economy and trade cooperation between China and the GCC, MOFCOM said.

Albudaiwi said Saturday during a meeting with Wang that the GCC is optimistic about China’s development prospects and is ready to further strengthen economic and trade cooperation with China under the BRI to achieve mutual benefits and win-win results.

“As all GCC member states are energy-rich countries and important partner countries of the BRI, the recent meeting between China and the GCC reflects the exact alignment of the BRI,” Song Wei, a professor at Peking University’s School of International Relations and Diplomacy for foreign studies, the Global Times said on Sunday.

Song noted that financial cooperation will become a vital area between the two countries. In addition, as the Arab countries are also facing the transformation of economic diversification, hoping to develop new energy, and China has competitive advantages in this field, both countries have the desire and demand to strengthen cooperation, which will lead to an important demonstration effect. for high-quality BRI construction.

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