Chinese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Li Chengwen said the volume of trade exchange between Saudi Arabia and China had been going up by leaps and bounds in the last few years.
“The two countries have mutually beneficial economic and trade relations, and they still do,” said ambassador Chengwen, adding: “Saudi Arabia is one of the most important trade partners at the economic and trade cooperation level, and the largest among Arab and African countries in the last 12 years.”
He said China will replace the United States as the largest importer of oil from the Middle East countries. “This is the reason for my government being very keen on boosting economic relations with Saudi Arabia since the Chinese economy is in need of a stable and continuous energy supply, and the Saudi economy needs the wide and extended energy markets,” the ambassador added.
China presently is the largest importer of oil. In 2012, crude oil production in the country stood at more than 200 million tons, against 250 million tons of imports, recording an increase of 20 percent over the previous year.
China also maintained continuous economic growth in 2013 with the GDP of the country growing by 7.7 percent, leading to increasing demand for energy.
In the last ten months of 2013, China imported 45.5 million tons of crude oil from Saudi Arabia, about 19 percent of its total imports of the commodity.
Referring to the strategic dialogue between China and the GCC countries that was held in Beijing recently, the ambassador said: “We are moving toward the establishment of a free trade zone between China and the GCC states since such a move will contribute to long-term development of economic relations between the two sides, particularly Saudi Arabia.”
He added: “This will also promote mutual investments between the two sides, and will boost cooperation to new levels in fields such as technology and renewable resources of energy, with Saudi Arabia evincing interest in developing a strategy to diversify resources of energy generation.”
He noted that the policy of Saudi Arabia to diversify such resources of energy established the wisdom of long-term perspective of the country’s leadership to serve its sustainable development.