Top issues on the agenda of China-Arab Summit in Saudi Arabia

2022-12-07

By:Sami Jabry

As the world’ s second largest economy after the United States, China has maintained close economic and trade relations with many continents and countries, while the Middle East is an important region for China to import oil and gas.

The upcoming China-Arab Summit in Saudi Arabia will mark another milestone in the development process of China-Arab strategic partnership.

Clearly, the top issues on the agenda of the summit will be how to support the Arab world, reject external intervention, solve regional hotspot issues through political means, and resolve existing regional crises in a peaceful manner. At the same time, the summit will focus on strengthening cooperation among Arab states with increased investment in various fields, based on existing international resolutions and agreements.

In addition, the summit will discuss the prospects and opportunities for practical cooperation between China and Arab states within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative, as well as effective ways to achieve joint development between the two sides. These two critical Chinese initiatives center on global development, echo the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and aim to lead the world towards comprehensive and balanced development.

China is the largest trading partner of the Arab world, with trade between the two sides amounting to about $330 billion last year, an annual increase of 37 %.

However, it is worth noting that trade exchanges between China and the Arab world are primarily limited to traditional areas, such as energy, infrastructure, commodities and industrial products, while in the digital economy and information communication, including artificial satellite, 5G, and big data, there is still much room to improve the economic and trade cooperation between the two sides.

All these issues will be discussed at the China-Arab Summit. Furthermore, the two sides will continuously seek to reach more cooperation agreements. In the field of food security, for instance, China and Arab states will strive to meet the tremendous demand for food in China and the neighboring regions through new cooperation.

The summit will yield great opportunities for both China and Arab states. For example, Algeria, Mauritania and Sudan will make joint investments with China in the mining sector; China and Arab states will jointly establish industrial bases for industrial cooperation with technologies and experience from China.

China and Sudan and other countries will deepen cooperation in the field of raw materials such as gum arabic. It is well known that Arab countries are rich in a wide range of raw materials, for instance, Sudan alone produces 80% of the world’s gum arabic, a substance that is widely used in food, medicine, military industry, aerospace and other sectors.

The international situation is evolving with constant changes, and the international community needs all parties to work together to formulate effective cooperation strategies and build a new cooperation pattern. China-Arab relations have become increasingly dynamic. Given the inability of the existing international order to meet the challenges of the times, China and Arab states are jointly fostering a multipolar world and a new international order with freedom and justice as its core.

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Sami Jabry, journalist and host of Iraq News Group