“Practical co-operation between the two countries has developed with the volume of trade exchange increasing to around $25bn; China has become Qatar’s largest trading partner, the largest source of imports, and a destination for exports, Chen said in a speech during the ‘China (Guangdong)-Qatar (Doha) Economic & Trade Co-operation Forum’ held in Doha on Monday.
Chen said: “Over the past 10 years, bilateral relations witnessed a golden phase of significant development, thanks to the strategic leadership of Qatar and China.” He also underscored the deepening of mutual political trust between both countries, citing the four meetings between His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Chinese President Xi Jinping, which “laid the foundations for Qatari-Chinese relations in the new era.”
Chen noted that Arab-Chinese strategic partnership relations have achieved “continuous progress” as cooperation in the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative has risen to new levels, making China “the most important” among the trading partners of Arab countries.
During the event, which was organised by QBA, Ma Hua, Director of Commerce in Guangdong Province, spoke about the “constantly improving” business environment, citing more than 300,000 foreign-invested companies.
He said Guangdong Province’s total foreign trade value reached “8.31tn yuan” ($1.2tn) in 2022, accounting for “19.8%” of China’s total, placing the country on the top rank for 37 consecutive years.
It also represents a major part of China’s foreign trade and is considered an industrial centre that accounts for about “1/10th” of the country’s GDP and is the largest among all Chinese provinces. The province’s gross domestic product last year was “12.9tn yuan” ($1.9tn).
He said the number of industrial clusters in the province rose to 8tn yuan ($147bn) last year with 67,000 industrial enterprises and 69,000 high-tech enterprises, ranking first in China.
Chen Jiansha, Director at the Guangzhou Municipal Commerce Bureau, said the Guangzhou Industrial City forged a link between international trade and investment alike. With the establishment of more than 1,700 foreign investment institutions, the US, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea are among the top five sources of foreign investment, which constitutes about 90% of the total foreign capital.
Chen invited the QBA and local companies to visit the Canton Fair in Guangzhou this November. The fair is considered one of the largest trade fairs in the world, she said. It has been held in Guangzhou for more than 60 years, presenting many Chinese products.