In ancient times, vast deserts and arduous journeys failed to stop Arab and Chinese merchants from striking deals with one another. Today, China and Arab countries continue to expand economic and trade cooperation while jointly fighting the raging pandemic, setting a positive example of overcoming difficulties together.
Their strengthened strategic coordination and the synergy of their actions are evident at the fifth China-Arab States Expo, which is being held in northwest China and has seen active participation.
More than 1,000 domestic and overseas enterprises have registered as exhibitors for offline and virtual events. A total of 239 companies are displaying their latest products and innovations in offline exhibitions covering an approximate total area of 12,000 square meters.
This year's event is an extension of the exchanges between China and Arab countries, which feature peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning, mutual benefits and win-win results.
Despite the impact of the pandemic, the foundation of Chinese-Arab trade and economic cooperation remains solid. China is the largest trading partner of Arab countries. Last year, the total trade volume between China and Arab states neared 240 billion U.S. dollars. Arab states' imports from China hit 122.9 billion U.S. dollars, up 2.1 percent year on year.
The expo has shown both sides' willingness to expand cooperation in extensive areas. The expo's in-person events are themed around healthcare, clean energy, new materials, the digital economy, and cross-border e-commerce, which are key areas in which China and Arab states can bolster exchanges and achieve win-win cooperation.
The two sides, both advocates of multilateralism and a fair and just international order, are also expected to take measures to facilitate bilateral trade and investment, and jointly safeguard free trade and the multilateral trading system.
Joint efforts have also been made by China and Arab countries, bound by the history of the ancient Silk Road, to promote the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The expo witnessed the signing of 13 cooperation projects under the BRI, involving an approximate total of 617 million U.S. dollars. Highly complementary in terms of their economies, China and Arab countries are taking practical actions to fulfill their commitment to building a community with a shared future, and passing down the time-honored spirit of openness and cooperation.
China has so far donated and exported more than 72 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 17 Arab states and the Arab League. Arab states were among the first to cooperate with China on vaccines.
The ongoing expo has seen opportunities for the two sides to strengthen their anti-pandemic cooperation, including their procurement of medical supplies, investment in their medical and health sectors, and their future joint production of vaccines.
The pandemic is fraught with uncertainty, but it is certain that China and Arab states will stand in solidarity to build a Chinese-Arab community with a shared future for the new era. The expo has demonstrated the determination, great resilience and potential of Chinese-Arab cooperation.