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Gulf countries focused on China

Arab countries in the Gulf region aim to gain new momentum in diversifying their economies, which are largely based on oil, with the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, will host three summits during Xi’s visit, namely the China-Gulf Countries Summit, the China-Arab Countries Summit and the Saudi-China Summit.

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Within the scope of the meetings attended by many regional leaders, balance is aimed in strategic partnership relations.

China is an important importer of crude oil from Gulf countries, primarily Saudi Arabia.

China, one of the world’s largest importers of crude oil with 10 million barrels a day, supplies half of it from Middle Eastern countries.

Gulf countries want to expand their investments with China

 

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Although the Middle East is an indispensable source of energy for China, there are many other issues on the agenda during Xi’s 3-day visit to Riyadh, which started yesterday.

In this visit, Xi is accompanied by a large delegation of ministers and private sector officials in the fields of renewable energy, industry, steel, minerals, health, technology and digitalization.

Gulf countries also want to move away from traditional energy sources through cooperation with China and enter into investments in renewable energy, health, technology, electric cars and infrastructure.

In his first statement in Riyadh, Xi said that strategic trust has been established between China and Saudi Arabia.

Noting that this will be the first time a summit will be held between China and Arab countries, Xi noted that he wishes to take the relations between China and Arab and Gulf countries to a new level.

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman also stated that the relations between his country and China have witnessed a great leap.

Minister Bin Salman said, “The two countries are keen to develop cooperation in the field of renewable energy and in tackling climate problems. Both countries promote sustainable energy development.” used the phrases.

China strikes balance with US allies

Chinese President Xi’s visit comes just months after US President Joe Biden’s tour of the region.

The growing geo-strategic rivalry between the world’s two largest economies makes the Middle East region, which hosts the majority of global energy resources, the scene of a new struggle for influence.

China, the world’s largest exporter of commodities, is trying to maintain economic balances with its US allies through its industrial and logistics projects.

More than 30 countries, international organizations and private sector leaders are expected to attend the three summits to be held in Riyadh. The summits attract great attention both regionally and internationally.

Within the scope of Xi’s visit to Riyadh, news of the agreement began to come. Saudi Arabia and Chinese companies signed 34 investment agreements in various fields.

Khalid bin Abdulaziz al-Falih, Minister of Investment of Saudi Arabia, who attended the agreement ceremony, said that the deep-rooted relations between the two countries have shown a comprehensive development in recent years after the mutual visits of the leaders. Falih noted that his country offers unprecedented investment opportunities in various fields such as renewable energy, industry, communications, information technology, biotechnology, tourism and construction within the scope of its 2030 vision.​​​​

During the visit of the President of China, agreements in various fields are expected to be signed with other Gulf countries.

Gulf countries are trying to reduce their dependence on oil

In fact, the Gulf countries aim to reduce their dependence on oil as their main source of income since the crisis that started with the collapse in crude oil prices in 2015.

According to the data of the Ministry of Finance of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, which had a 90 percent share of all its revenues 10 years ago, managed to reduce its oil revenues to 68 percent of its total revenues this year as a result of efforts to diversify its economy.

Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have also taken steps to advance the non-oil economy by focusing on the tourism, services, industry, agriculture and technology sectors.

It is observed that the implementation of the economic diversification plans of Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman is progressing more slowly due to the reasons related to their cash needs.

According to the data of the Secretariat General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, oil constitutes an average of 75 percent of the total revenues of the 6 Gulf countries.

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