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Sun 10 Jan 2010 09:17 PM

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Saudi Arabia and China to boost ties by 50% by 2015

Saudi to boost crude exports to China this year, to just over 800,000 bpd.

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and key customer China want to boost trade volumes by 50 percent by 2015 and solve disputes over issues such as dumping amicably, officials said on Sunday.

While speaking to reporters, China's commerce minister, Chen Deming, said: "We want to increase the trade volume to $60 billion by 2015 after the target of $40 billion (for 2010) was surpassed early in 2008."

Saudi Arabia is China's biggest oil supplier, with Chinese crude imports rising more than 12 percent last year to just over 800,000 barrels per day.

About half of the OPEC member's crude exports go to Asia, a share set to rise this year, according to analysts.

Saudi finance minister Ibrahim al Assaf said the Gulf Arab state wanted to increase exports of oil and nonoil products to China and boost bilateral investments.

Speaking to Saudi and Chinese officials and business leaders, Assaf said: "The number of joint projects between the two countries is small with only 19 joint projects, which does not reflect the depth of our relations and economic possibilities."

He said both countries hoped to end a conflict over anti dumping measures imposed by China on some petrochemicals products from the kingdom and other countries.

Speaking to reporters, Assaf said: "We want to solve all conflicts amicably without going to courts."

On June 24, China said it had begun an investigation into methanol imported from Saudi Arabia and three other countries to assess whether the material had been dumped on the Chinese market at below-production prices.

Deming said China would take a decision after the investigation was completed, adding both sides wanted to end disputes amicably.

Saudi Arabia is among the world's top suppliers of petrochemical products, with manufacturers benefiting from access to cheap feedstocks and proximity to major markets in China and India.

State owned Saudi Basic Industries Corp has said it has government approval to build a $3 billion joint venture plant with China's Sinopec in the region of Tianjin and is considering more investment in China.

(Reuters)

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