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Xinhua Silk Road
International Relation

Feature: Broad prospects for cooperation between China, Gulf Arab states

December 29, 2020


Abstract : "The speed is 320 km/h, the operation is normal," then it is expected to arrive at Jeddah station within 30 minutes, said the Mecca-Medina high-speed railway driver Muhammad Tariq, while focusing on the train's operation and reporting driving conditions from time to time.

BEIJING, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- "The speed is 320 km/h, the operation is normal," then it is expected to arrive at Jeddah station within 30 minutes, said the Mecca-Medina high-speed railway driver Muhammad Tariq, while focusing on the train's operation and reporting driving conditions from time to time.

"This line, co-built by Chinese companies, has reduced the travel time between the two cities to two hours, which eased traffic pressure considerably, and even made cities along it more dynamic," said Tariq, who has been serving as a driver for the high-speed train since the railway opened to traffic two years ago and has made hundreds of round-trips.

The changes that Tariq has witnessed are a microcosm of the current practical cooperation between China and the Gulf Arab states. During the past year, the two sides have worked steadily to advance the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, and have strengthened cooperation in several areas including energy trade, engineering contracting and digitization.

IMPROVING EFFICIENCY

The Mecca-Medina high-speed railway crosses the Arabian desert, takes the King Abdullah Economic City road through Rabigh, Jeddah and other important stations.

During the construction, Chinese companies actively promoted local employment and trained a group of local technicians. The China Railway 18th Bureau Group Co. Ltd has trained more than 400 local workers, and created more than 1,500 jobs there.

The China-Oman Industrial Park (Duqm) in Oman's Duqm Special Economic Zone, which is currently under construction, covers various areas such as petrochemicals, building materials and e-commerce.

Saleh Al-Hasani, an official at Duqm Special Economic Zone, said that once the industrial zone is completed, it will attract more foreign investment and add impetus to the Omani economic development.

In recent years, more and more Chinese companies have participated in investment and construction in the Gulf area, creating job opportunities as well as promote local economic and social development.

MORE PROJECTS

In a desert area, 120 km east of Abu Dhabi in the UAE, rows of photovoltaic panels line up neatly in the sun, providing clean electricity constantly to all parts of Abu Dhabi.

The UAE and other Gulf Arab states possess natural resources that enable them to develop the photovoltaic power generation industry, and the project equipment ranging from basic solar cells to automated cleaning robots for photovoltaic panels, many of which are made in China.

In Kuwait's Al-Zour New Refinery Project, the installation of all the 15 sets of main oil-refining units were completed by China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) Luoyang Engineering Co. Ltd.

Once operated, the refinery will be able to process some 31.5 million tons of crude oil annually, helping the Kuwaiti economy shift from exporting resources to exporting products.

COOPERATION IN DIGITAL ECONOMY

Qasim Nader, purchasing manager of a company specializing in medicinal products trading in the UAE, can now complete business orders with Chinese customers online without leaving home.

Qasim said that the UAE currently has a high demand for air purification and disinfection products, and after obtaining relevant product information during the China-UAE Digital Economic and Trade Fair held in July this year, he immediately contacted the Chinese exhibitors to purchase 500 devices.

"The Chinese sales representative showed me the performance of the product through a video call, and took me on a virtual visit to its production line and its laboratory. Thus, the Internet communication technology saves costs and improves negotiation efficiency," he said.

Amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic, the cooperation between China and the Gulf Arab states in the area of new technologies is advancing rapidly -- Huawei has collaborated with the UAE, Saudi Arabia and others on 5G-based products and solutions, artificial intelligence and cloud technology in the front line of the fight against the pandemic.

In November, the Dubai Multi Commodities Center in the UAE announced the opening of a representative office in Shenzhen, which will facilitate two-way trade by means of actual or virtual platforms.

In this regard, Haitham Al-Sayed, director of the Department of Chinese Studies at the Saudi Research and Knowledge Communication Center, said that Chinese companies have pioneering technologies and experiences in the areas of artificial intelligence and big data, which in turn opens up broad prospects for bilateral cooperation in digital economy. Enditem

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Keyword: cooperation between China and the Gulf Arab states

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