YINCHUAN, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) — The fifth China-Arab States Expo opened Thursday in Yinchuan, capital of northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
The four-day event will feature trade fairs and forums on digital economy, clean energy, water resource, modern agriculture, green food, cross-border e-commerce and tourism cooperation.
This year’s event is held both online and offline for the first time in history due to COVID-19 prevention and control, with the online event being the main focus. More than 1,000 domestic and overseas enterprises have registered as exhibitors for offline and virtual events at the expo.
China, now the Arab states’ largest trading partner, has the confidence to further expand cooperation with the countries in digital economy, new energy, artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging fields, said Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming via videolink at the opening ceremony.
According to statistics of the ministry, China-Arab trade volume reached 239.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, during which China imported 250 million tonnes of crude oil from Arab states, or half of the country’s total crude oil imports last year.
Arab states’ imports from China reached 122.9 billion U.S. dollars last year, up by 2.1 percent year on year, Qian said.
Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani said via video that Arab countries and China are highly complementary in economy and enjoy broad prospects for cooperation. He noted that Morocco has actively participated and played a constructive role in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and has seen great progress in the country’s infrastructure.
Kazakhstan’s First Deputy Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov said that the BRI has proven to be practical and successful, and the proposal of building a digital Silk Road and a green Silk Road will make contributions to the low-carbon development of the world.
Stressing that new opportunities will be brought to countries along the Belt and Road, Tunisian Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi said that joint efforts to safeguard regional security and stability are vital for the further development of the initiative.
Sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and the regional government of Ningxia, the biennial expo has attracted more than 5,000 enterprises from around 110 countries since its inauguration in 2013, with about 940 cooperative projects signed.
China-Arab economic and trade cooperation has gained steam in recent years. A total of 287 deals worth about 185.42 billion yuan (26 billion U.S. dollars) was signed at the fourth China-Arab States Expo in 2019.