During his 10-day visit to Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain, United Front Vice Minister and ACFIC CPC Secretary and Executive Vice Chairman Quan Zhezhu said the geographic and resource advantages of these three countries, and their push for economic diversification, industrial restructuring and development of private enterprises, are highly conducive to turning Middle Eastern countries into strategic hubs on the western drive of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
“These three countries and China share many points of convergence, strong complementariness and broad scope for cooperation in trade, investment and other economic activities. All the parties involved should seize this major opportunity to give a strong push to pragmatic cooperation and in-depth exploration in economy, trade and science and technology,” Quan said during his trip which ran from April 20 to 29.
Quan held talks with Saudi Prince Turki bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Bahraini Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, and leaders of the Oman Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Oman Center for Investment Promotion and Export Development; the Bahrain Ministry and of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, the Bahrain Economic Development Board, and the Bahrain Chamber of Industry and Commerce on tightening bilateral economic and trade ties for pragmatic, mutually beneficial and win-win growth.
Quan noted that the Arab countries in the Middle East have responded warmly to the Belt and Road Initiative advocated by Chinese President Xi Jinping because this strategy, which will link China with the Middle East closely, leads to the path of hope and development and expresses the common wishes of people of the countries along the Belt and the Road. He urged relevant government authorities, chambers of commerce and enterprises of countries along the economic corridor to “pay more visits to each other, make more interactions, set up more landmarks and reduce road barriers”.
He said that ACFIC, China’s most influential business organization, is eager to establish a closer communication and cooperation mechanism with the government authorities and chambers of commerce of the three countries, encourages Chinese enterprises with good qualification, credit and business prowess to invest overseas and conduct cooperation, helps enterprises integrate into the social and economic development of their investment destinations to achieve harmonious win win.
The Saudi Prince and the Bahraini Deputy Prime Minister both expressed their admiration for Xi’s “wise” initiative, and they said that Middle Eastern countries, which are witnessing the world economy gravitating to Oriental countries, have warm expectations for the initiative’s historic significance and profound and long-run impact, and are mulling over appropriate steps to support and participate in it.
The two leaders stressed the special significance of China to Middle Eastern countries, expressed hope to collaborate with China in various arenas, and expressed their welcome to Chinese corporate investors.
The ACFIC delegation held meetings with Chinese-funded enterprises in these countries, and inspected industrial, financial, IT and investment parks, infrastructure projects, special business districts, and shopping centers built or invested by Chinese enterprises.
Following inspection of and research on the enterprises’ business operation, their social and economic integration experiences, difficulties and problems, as well as their suggestions on Chinese enterprises’ go-global and participation in the Belt and Road construction, Quan noted that the Belt and Road will not be all smooth sailing with challenges and opportunities side by side but opportunities outweighing challenges. He said that while the President Xi’s constructive Mideast visit early this year has created an unprecedented sound environment in the Middle East for the Chinese non-public sector, a sluggish world economy and falling oil prices are giving the Middle Eastern countries a stronger push to pursue reform and foreign investment.
Quan urged private enterprises to enhance their sense of historic mission, horn their skills through the supply-side reform, and strive to strengthen themselves in the Belt and Road construction. He underscored the importance of maintaining good corporate and national images, credit and honor; walking a medium-high-end manufacturing line; attaching importance to grouped development in industrial parks and special economic zones; improving both brands and services; respecting and abiding by local laws and social customs and proactively undertaking social responsibility.
Quan said that ACFIC will tap its advantages at people-to-people diplomacy, further tighten ties with Chinese overseas diplomatic missions, foreign government authorities and chambers of commerce, and provide help to enterprises in solving various problems and guide and encourage more private enterprises to step up growth pattern change through engagement of both domestic and foreign markets and resources.