"Remarkable" growth in China-MENA trade expected

Chairman of HSBC Middle East says China increasingly important trade partner
China is set to become the world’s largest trading nation by 2016.
By Claire Valdini
Sun 15 Apr 2012 10:36 AM

Bilateral trade between China and MENA is expected to see a "remarkable" increase over the next few years as both regions return to more traditional trade routes, the chairman of HSBC Middle East has said.

Speaking at HSBC’s MENA and China Forum,  David Eldon said: “[Bilateral trade] clearly has to increase.

''The demand for things like oil commodities coming out of Asia has grown and that has been the start of renewed set of relationships and you've now got investment starting to go in both directions. The prospects for its growth over the next few years I think are remarkable,'' he said.

China, set to become the world’s largest trading nation by 2016, is becoming an increasing important trading partner with the region.

The world’s second biggest economy is the MENA’s second largest trading partner after the US while trade from Qatar, Bahrain and Egypt is expected to grow above 14 percent annually over the next five years, according to HSBC.

''I think we are beginning to see [investment] already in terms of infrastructure,'' said Eldon.

''People in China have developed expertise in all sorts of things as they've gone into the western parts of China - areas that are difficult to work in - so they provide an alternative source of labour, which is skilled, reasonably priced so the sort of things the Middle East would be interested in."

There have been recent signs of increasing trade ties between the Middle East and China.

In March, China's vice trade minister and Saudi Arabia's finance minister held talks over possible joint ventures in petrochemicals and banking on Tuesday, state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said, as part of a wider Chinese push into the oil exporting Gulf.

After their first joint meeting with Chinese trade officials, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia - agreed at a meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Tuesday to increase trade with Beijing.

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