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Arab countries endeavour to increase trade volume with China

Published the:  02/04/2019

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(TAP) Trade volume between China and the Arab countries is currently estimated at about $ 218 billion annually against $ 36 billion in 2004, according to Under-Secretary-General for Economic Affairs at the Arab League Kamel Hassan Ali.

Arab countries expect to see this value exceed $ 600 billion in the coming years, while the Chinese side expressed its genuine will to rebuild the regional belt of the Silk Road, which aims to establish a strategic partnership between China and the Arab countries, he added, Tuesday, during the 8th edition of the Sino-Arab Business Forum, in Tunis.

China plans to boost trade with Tunisia and the Arab region by developing it through e-commerce, Sino-Arab Cooperation Forum Ambassador Li Chengwen told TAP.

Tunisian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce President Taher Bayahi said that the gap between Tunisian exports and imports from China has increased, pointing to the significant flow of Chinese goods to Tunisia.

The value of Chinese imports from Tunisia reached 5 billion dinars against exports that do not exceed 100 million dinars, he specified.

Bayahi said said that the Chinese market is large and promising, and offers significant employment opportunities, especially in the food sector, ensuring that the Tunisian food product attracts the Chinese market.

In turn, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed commended the "Belt and Road" initiative, stressing that it will give a qualitative leap to Tunisian-Arab cooperation. He called on Tunisian businessmen to take advantage of the opportunities offered in Tunisian-Chinese economic relations, saying that "Tunisia is working to become a regional center for China to arrive in Europe and Africa".

Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation Zied Laadhari said that Tunisia is concerned about readjusting the trade balance with China. This requires to intensify the Chinese investment in Tunisia and the relations of partnership and cooperation in the fields of tourism and industry.

Laadhari recalled that Tunisia had signed agreements with China encompassing several projects relating in particular to basic infrastructure, such as urban transport and development as well as highways.

"The Belt and Road" is a Chinese initiative that Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in September 2013. This initiative aims essentially to revitalise the old Silk Road to strengthen economic and trade cooperation between China and the countries on this road.

China also called for the revitalisation of the old maritime passages, since October 2015, in order to set up a maritime silk road completing the former Silk Road.

Tunisia signed on July 10, 2018, in Beijing, a memorandum of understanding to join the "Belt and Road" initiative