China-Arab States Expo Boosts Bilateral Engagement with $23.4 Billion in Deals; U.S. A No Show

The recently concluded trade fair aimed at strengthening the relationship between China and the Arab world concluded on Sunday. According to state media, companies participating in the fair signed agreements worth a combined total of 171 billion yuan (US$23.4 billion) across various sectors including trade, agriculture, energy, green transition, and medical care.

According to the official news agency Xinhua, the sixth China-Arab States Expo took place in Yinchuan, located in the northwestern region of Ningxia. The event saw the participation of officials from over 60 countries and more than 1,000 representatives from foreign agencies in China.


In addition, the report indicated that the event saw the participation of over 220 foreign chambers and foreign companies, along with representation from over 150 Chinese businesses. The specific companies involved in the deals have not yet been disclosed, and no further information regarding their identities has been made available.

In addition to its main exhibition, the expo also featured a tech transfer and innovation conference. During this conference, a total of eight agreements were signed between Chinese agencies and research bodies or laboratories from various countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. These agreements focused on addressing the issue of desertification treatment and implementing smart agriculture practices.

In recent times, China has taken steps to strengthen its ties with several Middle Eastern countries. This strategic move by China is aimed at leveraging the perceived decrease in United States' engagement and influence in the region.
In addition to engaging in trade activities, Beijing has significantly enhanced its reputation by successfully mediating a diplomatic agreement to restore relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The official account of the expo on WeChat has reported that there is a mutual agreement between China and Arab countries regarding the importance of enhancing agricultural exchanges.

During the event, several agreements were signed, amounting to a total of 3.4 billion yuan, specifically focused on the agricultural sector. Additionally, Chinese companies took the opportunity to exhibit a wide range of technologies related to agriculture, maritime activities, and anti-pollution measures. These technologies were highlighted by state media as being well-suited to meet the requirements of Arab states.

According to official data from Beijing, the total trade in agricultural products between China and Arab countries amounted to US$5 billion in the previous year. This figure represents a significant increase compared to the trade value in 2016, which was only half of the amount observed in 2020.

According to Zhang Enhong, the director of the Chinese centre of animal husbandry technology in Mauritania, Chinese scientists have played a significant role in enhancing soil quality in the North African country. Additionally, they have conducted experiments on 34 different varieties of forage crops specifically aimed at benefiting livestock.

According to the speaker, animal husbandry holds a significant position as one of the key industries in this particular country located in northwest Africa. However, a notable challenge faced by this industry is that approximately 80 percent of the country's lands consist of desert terrain, resulting in a prolonged dry season.

The traditional method of grazing is no longer effective, necessitating the search for suitable crops to sustain the industry.

At the inaugural China-Arab States Summit in Riyadh, President Xi Jinping of China put forth a series of significant proposals, encompassing eight major initiatives. Among these initiatives, one of particular importance was focused on addressing the issue of food security.

In an effort to enhance agricultural development and foster collaboration, President Xi has made a commitment to establish five joint modern agriculture laboratories and initiate 50 demonstration projects. Additionally, China will be dispatching a team of 500 scientists to Arab countries with the aim of assisting in the improvement of grain yields.

According to John Oliver, a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, the economic relationship between the Middle East and China is characterized by mutual benefits.


According to the speaker, the port and free zone of Jebel Ali, located in southwestern Dubai, holds significant global importance as a major port and serves as a crucial re-export zone for various products originating from China and other regions.

The port of Fujairah, located in the United Arab Emirates, holds the distinction of being the second busiest bunkering port globally. This means that it plays a crucial role in refuelling cargo ships. As a result, it has become a significant hub for facilitating the movement of goods to and from China.


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