Sino-Saudi trade ties expected to expand

Updated: 2016-01-20 08:14

By Zhong Nan and Wang Qian in Jinan(China Daily)

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Sino-Saudi trade ties expected to expand

China and Saudi Arabia may develop closer economic cooperation and stronger trade ties this year, as their products are complementary and they have reached a consensus on the Belt and Road Initiative, according to Chinese exporters and commerce officials.

The initiative includes the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, covers about 4.4 billion people in more than 60 countries and regions.

Zhi Luxun, deputy director-general of the Commerce Ministry's Department of Foreign Trade, said oil trade lies at the heart of their business ties. But Saudi Arabia's surging demand for upgrading its infrastructure - such as oil refineries, roads, airports, and oil tanker and container ports - is also providing opportunities for Chinese project contractors and manufacturers.

China exports mainly construction machinery, manufacturing equipment, steel, electronics, textiles, garments and household appliances to Saudi Arabia. Chinese-made passenger vehicles and trucks have also become popular in the region.

In addition to crude oil, petrochemicals and fertilizer, Saudi Arabia's exports to China include marble, olive oil and sesame seed products.

"State-owned enterprises, such as Sinochem and China Communications Construction, as well as Wison Engineering Services - the country's largest private petrochemical engineering, procurement and construction contractor - diversified their operation strategies in Saudi Arabia and other markets in the Middle East as they transformed from goods and equipment suppliers to construction project providers and investors," said Zhi.

The country's largest truck manufacturer by revenue, China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, based in Jinan, Shandong province, has a 50 million yuan ($7.6 million) deal to deliver 46 heavy tractors and multi-functional tractors to a Saudi oil company in March. The vehicles are designed for work in deserts and extremely hot weather.

The company expects to export more new-energy, heavy-duty trucks, as well as trucks for military use, to the Saudi Arabia in the long-term.

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