China, Arab countries seeing booming trade despite political unrest

Trade between China and Arab countries has maintained steady growth since Y 2011, despite regional political unrest.

Trade between China and countries in the Middle East and North Africa totaled US$111.78-B in 1-H of Y 2012, a Y-Y growth of 22.1%, according to Chinese customs figures published earlier this month.

The figure was US$195.9-B last year, + 34.7% from Y 2010.

Trade between China and Arab countries that were stricken by political turmoil last year notably rebounded in the first half of this year. Sino-Libyan increased by 130% to US$4.83-B over the same period last year, the figures indicated.

In May, the 5th Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum was held in the Tunisian city of Hammamet. At the meeting, Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali said Tunisia expects more Chinese companies to invest in its energy, agriculture and transport sectors.

Trade between China and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 1-H this year increased by 29.1% to US$77.72-B, according to the customs statistics.

GCC members Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman contributed to about 70% of Sina-Arab trade, the figures indicated.

Business cooperation between China and GCC members has great potential, said Zhang Yansheng, general secretary of an expert committee under the National Development and Reform Commission.

China is a major energy importer and producer of machinery, while GCC members are key energy exporters and buyers of machinery, allowing for the creation of a long-term partnership, Zhang said.

The unrest in Syria and the Sudan-South Sudan relationship have affected business relations with China. In 1-H of Y 2012, trade between China and Sudan dropped by 64.9%, while trade with Syria was reduced by 37.9%.

Political unrest has not changed the fact that Arab countries hold an important position in terms of affecting the global political, economic and energy balance, said Yang Honglin, former Chinese embassador to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iraq.

China has worked to consolidate its business relations with Arab countries. Following a forum for Chinese and Arab small- and mid-sized firms held in Tianjin in July, the third China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum will be held next month in northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr. writes and publishes The Red Roadmaster's Technical Report on the US Major Market Indices, a weekly, highly-regarded financial market letter, read by opinion makers, business leaders and organizations around the world.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr has studied the global financial and stock markets since 1984, following a successful business career that included investment banking, and market and business analysis. He is a specialist in equities/commodities, and an accomplished chart reader who advises technicians with regard to Major Indices Resistance/Support Levels.