RIYADH: The first day of the 10th Arab-China Business Conference saw the signing of 30 investment agreements worth $10 billion across various sectors including technology, renewables, agriculture, real estate, minerals, supply chains, tourism, and healthcare.
According to the Investment Ministry, the Saudi government signed deals with several Chinese entities for projects including a joint venture for automotive research, development, manufacturing and sales, development of tourism and other apps, and production of rail wagons and wheels in the Kingdom.
Several business-to-business deals were also signed at the key business event that began in Riyadh on Sunday.
Speaking at the event, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said: “I would not be surprised if you will hear more announcements soon on Saudi-Chinese investment.”
He said the Kingdom seeks collaboration with the world’s second-largest economy instead of competition.
Prince Abdulaziz said there are synergies between the two countries, as the Kingdom is progressing steadily with its Vision 2030 plan, while China is pursuing its Belt and Road Initiative.
The two-day event has been organized by Saudi Arabia’s investment and foreign ministries in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Arab League, the Chinese Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and the Union of Arab Chambers.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, who inaugurated the conference on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said: “The crown prince has continually amplified efforts to enhance the long-standing and advanced partnership between the Arab world and China in all sectors.”
He said the conference outlines methods for achieving mutual compatibility, exchanging experience, and launching new opportunities that enable growth and investment, resulting in prosperity and progress for all.
The program of plenaries, workshops, special meetings, and side events dedicated to topics such as environmental, social and governance, and supply chain resilience attracted more than 3,500 business leaders, innovators, and policymakers from 26 countries.
In a bid to further boost trade ties with China, Saudi Arabia announced the revival of the Silk Route on the sidelines of the event.
Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the Kingdom can serve as China’s gateway to the Arab world as the world’s second-largest economy seeks to elevate trade ties with the region.
The Kingdom represents 25 percent of the $432 billion trade between China and Arab countries in 2022.
Commenting on the revival of the Silk Route, the minister said the initiative aligns with Saudi Arabia’s future vision that seeks to diversify its economy and use modern technology to elevate the skills of its youth.
The volume of trade between Saudi Arabia and China hit $106 billion in 2022, registering a 30 percent increase over 2021.
The second day of the program will include a closing keynote from Dilma Rousseff, former president of Brazil and current president of New Development Bank, a multilateral development bank established by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in emerging markets and developing economies.