The volume of trade between China and Qatar has increased, and the cultural and political relations between the two sides have greatly improved, a Chinese diplomat said.
Li Qun, the new deputy head of mission at the Chinese Embassy, said that in recent years, “the bilateral relations between Qatar and China are developing very fast, and have been strengthened especially after the political visits between the two countries last year: the Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping’s visit to Qatar and Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister
H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani’s visit to China in April 2008.”
Qun, who worked for the Chinese embassy in Jordan and Algeria and joined the Chinese embassy here on September 15, said the Chinese government has been in talks with GCC officials relating to establishing a free trade zone between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and China. Qun, who hails from Beijing, studied in a university in Shanghai.
The GCC and the Chinese government have recently successfully concluded in Riyadh, the first round of negotiations to establish a free trade zone between the GCC and China.
The two sides, in their meeting in Riyadh, agreed to continue with the negotiations for a year, meeting every three months. According to a press statement, the liberalisation of commodities and services will begin gradually. The GCC countries are united in their position over the basic issues, especially removing customs fees.
China agreed to liberalise many of its sectors and welcomed the building of strategic oil reserves and refineries through partnerships and cooperation between the two sides, the Saudi news agency stated. According to statistics, trade between the GCC and China increased 40 percent between 1999 and 2004.
Since 2001, China has signed some 3,000 contracts totalling $2.7bn with the member states of the GCC. In 2004, an agreement on economic, trade, investment, and technological cooperation was signed between China and the GCC and negotiations for a China-GCC free trade zone were initiated.
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