RIYADH: Ajlan bin Abdulaziz Al-Ajlan, chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce, conveyed the greetings of the country’s business community to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who arrived in the Kingdom on Wednesday for a three-day visit.
Al-Ajlan praised the ever-improving ties between Saudi Arabia and China, in light of the strong political will and strategic partnership between the two friendly countries — particularly on the economic front.
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Ajlan said the two countries have strong historical and economic relations, as China is the Kingdom’s largest trade partner.
He urged the business community to take advantage of the momentum created by Xi’s visit to push forward trade deals and investments in both Saudi Arabia and China.
Xi is scheduled to meet Saudi and Arab leaders during his visit to the Kingdom. Three summits will take place during his stay: The Saudi-Chinese Summit, the Riyadh Gulf-China Summit for Cooperation and Development, and the Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development.
The visit reflects the desire of the leaderships of Saudi Arabia and China to strengthen ties, enhance strategic partnerships and realize the political and economic potential in areas of common interest.
Around 35 initial agreements between the two countries, worth more than SR110 billion ($29.3 billion), have been signed during the presidential visit, along with a strategic partnership deal and a plan to harmonize implementation of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
The volume of bilateral trade grew during 2021 by 37 percent to reach $81.14 billion, with Saudi Arabia accounting for about 26 percent of China’s total foreign trade with Arab countries.
The CSC Chairman said the Kingdom is China’s largest trade partner in West Asia and North Africa, with the import and export of goods between the two countries from January to October 2022 amounting to $95.46 billion, reflecting the strength and diversity of trade between the two countries.
Al-Ajlan praised the role played by Chinese companies in the Kingdom and their involvement in several Saudi mega projects that ads value to the Kingdom’s economy.
He added that harmonizing China’s Belt and Road Initiative with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 will help exploit the Kingdom’s strategic location to make it a global logistics hub.
The CSC chairman said there were huge investment opportunities in the Kingdom for China, particularly in infrastructure projects, as well as in enhancing economic cooperation through regional and international blocs such as the Gulf Cooperation Council, the G20 and others.
He said optimizing this relationship would turn both nations into a powerful combined economic force, based on solid institutional frameworks.
Al-Ajlan said investment cooperation agreements under the Saudi-Chinese Joint Committee and the Saudi-Chinese Business Council, which works under the umbrella of CSC, play an important role in developing investment and trade between the business sectors of the two nations.