Saudi Arabia to launch regional center for Chinese factories as trade relations deepen

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will host a regional center for Chinese factories as the Kingdom’s strategic location among the three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe is set to elevate the trade relationship between both countries in the energy supply chain, confirmed Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.  

He reaffirmed that Saudi Arabia will continue to be China’s reliable partner in the energy sector, and added that the Kingdom is always keen to maintain stability in the oil market, reported Saudi Press Agency. 

Not just the energy sector, Prince Abdulaziz further added that Saudi Arabia has strong and close strategic relations with China in various other fields.  

Highlighting that China is the top destination for Saudi Arabia’s oil imports, he said the volume of trade between the countries has been increasing steadily over the past five years.  

The energy minister also reviewed areas of cooperation where both China and Saudi Arabia can work together. This includes projects to convert crude oil into petrochemicals, renewable energy, clean hydrogen, electricity projects and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.   

He also assured collaboration in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, as well as investment in integrated refining and petrochemical complexes in both countries.  

The comments from the energy minister come while Chinese president Xi Jinping is in the Kingdom for three days to attend multiple summits including the Saudi-Chinese Summit, the Riyadh Gulf-China Summit for Cooperation and Development, and the Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development.  

Xi’s visit to Saudi Arabia is expected to further strengthen the trade relationship between the two countries as well as the Middle East as Beijing is looking to increase its influence in the region.   

It should be also noted that the Kingdom was the biggest recipient of Chinese investments in the Arab World between 2005 and 2020, accounting for more than 20.3 percent of the total regional investments, worth $196.9 billion, SPA reported. 

It added that both countries are expected to sign more than 20 initial agreements worth over SR110 billion ($29.3 billion) during Xi’s visit. They are also expected to enter into a strategic partnership deal to harmonize the implementation of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and economic diversification project with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.