Chairperson of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) Dr. Hamdan Al Semreen expressed that Saudi-Chinese economic relations embark on promising prospects for cooperation following the launch of the Saudi Vision 2030, whose goals include: attracting FDIs, diversifying economy, and fostering trade partnerships. Besides the Silk Route Economic Belt initiative, and its relate projects, announced by the Chinese governments, which will enhance cooperation and trade openness between the two countries.
Dr. Al Semreen noted that King Salman’s visit to China will boost the Saudi-Chinese economic cooperation file, and facilitate trade and investment partnerships between the Saudi and Chinese business sectors. He also highlighted CSC’s presence during the recent visit - via a business delegation that participated in the Saudi-Chinese Business Forum and Saudi-Chinese Business Council. Per Al Semreen, the Silk Route Economic Belt strategy is in line with the Saudi Vision 2030 in its endeavors to utilize the strategic location of the Kingdom as an international hub connecting three continents, and make it an international logistic center. The CSC Chairperson stated that he hopes for the Chinese strategy to be in line with the Saudi Vision 2030, and for both to involve the Saudi and Chinese private sectors in the projects presented by the Chinese strategy and the Saudi Vision. Noting the benefits of integrating the advantages of both countries in their resources, capabilities, and human and technical capacities.
Dr. Al Semreen further noted the significant role China can play in implementing the Saudi Vision 2030 as a key trade partner to the Kingdom, and due to the capabilities and expertise it possesses, noting that Saudi-Chinese bilateral relations and joint investments reflect the robust relations and strategic partnerships between the two countries.
Over the last decade, China went from ranking 4th among Saudi Arabia’s trade partners in 2006, to becoming its number one trade partner in 2015. Likewise, there are successful Chinese companies implementing infrastructure projects in the Kingdom, with noticeable contribution to developing and training Saudi workforce, and transferring technologies into different Saudi sectors.
Statistics show that around 14% of Saudi Arabia’s imports are from China, and around 12% of its exports are to China, reflecting the two countries’ mutual interest in cooperation. Saudi Arabia’s imports from China rose from SAR 40.6 billion in 2009, to around SAR 92.4 billion in 2015.
Saudi-Chinese economic and financial cooperation witnessed significant developments. In 2015, ICBC opened a branch in Riyadh, making it the first branch of a Chinese bank in the Kingdom. Likewise, Saudi Arabia signed the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank agreement (AIIB) with a share of US$ 2.5 billion (2.5% of the bank’s capital, which is estimated at US$ 100 billion).
Dr. Al Semreen concluded the meeting by encouraging the Saudi business community to take advantage of the government’s support to the private sector, as demonstrated during the current Asian tour. He additionally urged them to capitalize on the agreements signed during this tour by exploring new opportunities and developomh long-term partnerships with their counterparts in those cou