By Huan Xiang, Chen Shangwen, Zhang Jinruo from People’s Daily
The fourth China-Arab States Expo was held in northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region from September 5 to 8. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to the opening ceremony of the event.
A total of 362 deals worth about 185.42 billion yuan (26 billion U.S. dollars) have been signed at the expo.
Adhering to the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, the event served well as a comprehensive national platform opening to the world. It focused on economic and trade cooperation and highlighted pragmatic results.
Over 2,900 regional organizations, chambers of commerce, associations and enterprises from 107 delegations in 89 countries attended the opening ceremony, as well as 8 exhibitions and investment promotion activities, 4 conferences and forums, and serial activities of theme province (Jiangsu).
A series of negotiations and investigations about trade, high-tech, Internet plus, digital economy, infrastructure and capacity cooperation were held during the expo, facilitating the reaching of a batch of cooperation agreements and practical results, which further demonstrated the role of the event to serve the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and promote economic and trade exchange.
Boydiel Houmeid, Vice-President of the National Assembly of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the expo, noting that Arab countries hope to establish a model of international cooperation featuring zero external interference, mutual understanding, mutual respect and win-win-results.
It is believed that more opportunities will be created for China-Arab states cooperation, said Houmeid.
Bilateral cooperation between China and Arab countries are seeing increasingly broad prospects for cooperation, said Shi Taifeng, secretary of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC)), stressing that Ningxia will make good use of the important platform of the China-Arab States Expo to promote high-quality development of the BRI, so as to build a bridge between the enterprises from both China and Arab countries.
China and Arab countries have many ideas, opportunities and measures to be implemented, which will all help promote economic and trade exchanges between the two sides, especially in areas with comparative advantages such as agriculture, energy, technology, and industry, said Mahmoud Hassan Elamin, director of the Representative Office of the Arab League in Beijing.
A series of technology-themed activities were held during the expo, bringing technological cooperation into focus, including Modern Agriculture Exhibition & Agricultural Cooperation Dialogue, Innovative and Advanced Technologies and Equipment Exhibition & Technological Achievements Promotion and Matchmaking Meeting, and China—Arab States Technology Transfer & Innovation Cooperation Conference.
In September 2015, China-Arab States Agricultural Technology Transfer Center was set up in Ningxia as one of the moves to put into practice President Xi’s important proposal.
Over the past four years, eight bilateral technology transfer centers have been established in Arab nations by the national-level comprehensive cross-border technology transfer center under cooperation with relevant institutes.
Meanwhile, the center has also held multiple cross-border training sessions for technical personnel and facilitated a number of transfer and demonstrating projects of advanced technologies between China and Arab nations, such as the prevention and elimination of date palm pests.
The efforts to jointly build technology transfer centers have been productive, said Mahmoud Sakr, Egyptian Vice Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, who on behalf of Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding with China on the establishment of the China-Egypt Technology Transfer Center two years ago.
The China-Egypt Technology Transfer Center offered opportunities for nearly 50 officials and young Egyptian scientists to go to China for training in such areas as innovation, incubator, and scientific park operation, Sakr introduced, adding that the two countries have carried out cooperation in four areas including smart agriculture and remote sensing technology.
It represents an important driving force for the development of scientific and technological innovation in Egypt, said Sakr.
So far, China has signed cooperation documents on joint construction of BRI with 18 Arab countries. As an important China-Arab nations platform for BRI construction, the China-Arab States Expo has played a positive role in promoting economic and trade exchanges and cooperation between China and Belt and Road countries including Arab nations.
Chinese-built railway has significantly facilitated communication between Djibouti and the outside world, Aboubaker Omar Hadi, Chairman of the Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority (DPFZA) told People’s Daily.
The modern electric railway, connecting coastal and inland areas and operating on clean energy, largely reduces the transportation cost, said Hadi, extending his appreciation for China’s assistance in Djibouti’s infrastructure construction.