October 3, 2014

China – Arab States Auto Cooperation Forum 2014

China Arab Auto Forum

China-Arab States Auto Cooperation Forum 2014, organized by the People’s Government of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, co-hosted by China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Automotive Committee (AUTO-CCPIT) and the Expo Bureau of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, was well concluded in Yinchuan on the 12th of September.

There were officials and representatives of Chamber of Commerce from 12 Arab countries to take part in the China-Arab States Auto Cooperation Forum that included Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Sudan, South Sudan, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Djibouti and Mauritania, Afghanistan and also representatives from over 30 international companies of passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles including Dongfeng, Chang’an, Guangzhou Automobile, FAW, SAIC, BAIC, Chery, Geely, Great Wall, Beiben Trucks, Chongqing Sokon, Xiamen King Long etc., along with over 40 domestic and foreign journalists to witness the milestone of this forum. Based on the theme of “Cooperation to build a better future”, the main purpose was to construct a platform of communication between Chinese auto enterprises and the Arab countries to facilitate the cooperation and development of China-Arab auto trades.

As the biggest developing country in the world, China attaches great importance to the development of the automobile industry, especially during the 30 years of the reform and opening up, under the guidance of the Chinese government and auto industry policy, China’s auto industry has been developing rapidly. At present, China has formed a relatively complete auto industrial system, with production and sales ranking the 1st in the world for five consecutive years. 2013, the production and market sales have exceeded 22 million. In terms of the total amount, China has accounted for a quarter of global car sales in the world automobile industry which has played a certain important role.

China and Arab countries have very long and favorable trade foundation. The Ancient Silk Road with over thousands years of history was also based upon the leading brand of commerce and knowledge dissemination, therefore to be selected as a World Heritage. In the new century, China has increased the intensity of the opening and established very close trade relationship with the Arab countries. Since the establishment of Free Trade Zones in the Arab countries in 2008, the trades between China and the Arab countries were becoming increasingly frequent. In 2012, as a regional free trade zone, the trades between the Arab countries and China have reached 230 billion dollars which means they have become an essential trade partner of China.

In terms of the automotive economic trade between China and Arab countries, Mr. Wang Ruixiang, the chairman of China Machinery Industry Federation proposed: following the rapid growth of China’s auto products exported to the Arab League, the Arab countries are becoming an essential export market for China’s autos. For two consecutive years of 2012 and 2013, China exported over 200,000 whole-vehicles to the Arab countries. Particularly in 2012, it reached the peak with over 300,000 vehicles that accounted for nearly 1/3 of total exports quantity. We look forward to a bright future for the auto industrial cooperation between China and the Arab countries.

Mr. Zhi Luxun, the Deputy Director-General of Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, had comprehensive communication with participants of the Arab League emphasizing on the perspectives of the development of China’s automobile industry and the internationalization status of  China’s auto industry, along with profound discussion in terms of relative policies and China-Arab trades, particularly the cooperative modes of China-Arab auto industry in this forum.

Announced by Mr. Wang Xia, the chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Automotive Committee in the opening ceremony: the auto industry is playing an increasingly vital role in the China-Arab economic and trade exchanges and cooperation, as the Arab countries are becoming an important export market of Chinese autos gradually. In recent years, approximately 1/3 of vehicles are exported to the Arab countries among millions of exported vehicles.

Therefore, the Ancient Silk Road has opened up the trades between China and the Arab countries, while the New Silk Road is playing as a role of the “window” and “link” to connect China and the Arab countries. This forum is an example to provide a wide range of strategic directions for the auto economic development between China and the Arab countries.

Mr. Xue Gang, Deputy Secretary-General of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region People’s Government expressed that: with the rapid development of auto products trade sales between China and Arab countries, the Arab League has become a leading market for China’s auto exports. Since the establishment of Free Trade Zone from 2005 to 2008, the merits of unified internal market, the same language and cultural background of the Arab countries had a positive and significant impact on the development of China’s auto exports. Following the accelerated pace of getting out of the country, China-Arab auto cooperation will welcome a new chapter.

Facing the world economic integration process, the economic exchanges between China and the Arab League are getting more and more frequent, as the Arab countries attract Chinese enterprise to expand their overseas markets regarding to their geographical advantages and the opening of the Free Trade Zone. At this point, the general manager of AQABA National Real Estate Projects Company attracted investments via the special preferential policies of the Bonded Gulf of AQABA. In relation to the fast-growing automotive market in Egypt, the representatives of Industrial Modernization Center of Egypt announced that Egypt will launch a number of projects, such as setting the international market as the standard to bring some well-known brands in the world to enter into the Egyptian market. In spite of connected land borders between China and Afghanistan, as well as relative long history of trades, however, Afghanistan does not obtain any Chinese auto brand. In this regard, the Commercial Counselor of Embassy of Afghanistan enthusiastically welcomed Chinese auto enterprises to expand their auto markets in Afghanistan. Moreover, said on behalf of Saudi Arabia, the region with better economic development, Saudi Arabia attracts more and more auto companies to build factories in the local with its abundant mining and oil resources.

Currently, Japan’s ISUZU Vehicle Company has built factories in Saudi Arabia, while Land Rover also establishes factories with annual production of 50,000 vehicles, which is scheduled for completion in 2017.

During the two-day forum, representatives from the China’s auto enterprises and the Arab countries had a frank and enthusiastic communication, which focused on thorough discussion of policies of the Arab League, as well as automotive investment directions. It may be mentioned here that many domestic Chinese brands were highly praised by the Arab countries.

The two-day forum had great achievement to strengthen a solid foundation and expand the development path for the future of China-Arab auto trades. Heading to the west, the Arab League always kept its advantage of the “bridgehead” in the automobile industry. It is believed that this forum will create more opportunities for China’s auto enterprises to accelerate their development process in the Arab countries.

-Published on pages#12 & 13 September 2014 edition of MOBILE WORLD Magazine

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