China's investment resonates in the Middle East
China invested $29.5 billion in the Middle East last year, 31.9 percent of the region's total foreign investment, according to a report published by the Kuwait-headquartered Arab Investment and Export Finance Company.
Economic cooperation has played an important role in Arab-China ties. Over the past 10 years, the investment of Chinese enterprises in the Middle East has gone beyond the oil and gas sector and into electronic communications, retail and trade. The annual bilateral trade volume has increased from $20 billion to $230 billion, and is expected to exceed $500 billion by 2020.
The Middle East is quickly recovering from the international financial crisis and political unrest, with experts giving China credit for its investment foresights in the region.
The trade and economic cooperation zone in Egypt, the industrial park in Oman and the science and technology park in Morocco will play an important role in the region's industrialization.
The Middle East is considered to be a market with greatprospects for growth. Most of the countries in the region are emerging economies and developing countries at the preliminary phase of industrialization and urbanization– with huge potentialfor Chinese investment and products.
The oil-rich countries are also upgrading their industries and restructuring their economies in a model which suits China's successful industrial parks.
In the financial sector, China has signed domestic currency exchange programs with Qatar, and established a renminbi settlement bank as well as a joint investment fund with Qatar.
China is steadily deepening and expanding its financial cooperation with the Middle East to promote the use of renminbi in the region andfacilitatetrade and investment.
It is intended that not only big government projects but small and medium-sized enterprises in the region will take a boost from the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China, which is also good for the region's economic recovery, peace and stability.
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