RIYADH: China wants to reach a free trade agreement with the GCC states, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Al Arabiya on Wednesday, on the sidelines of his visit to Riyadh.
This agreement would allow Gulf countries to open-up to the economic communities in which China participates, providing them with preferential trade status agreements and negotiations, said Fawaz Al-Amali, an international trade expert.
A Chinese-Gulf Free Trade Agreement would represent a major boost for the region with the Gulf currently accounting for about two thirds of China’s trade with the Arab world, he said.
China already imports about 35 percent of its crude oil requirement from the Gulf which could rise to as much as 60 percent by the end of the decade.
The Gulf countries achieved a surplus in the trade balance with China during the past year, amounting to $19 billion, Al-Amali said.
Saudi Arabia posted a trade surplus with China, at a value of $11 billion, he added.