2023 CIFTIS Beijing-Middle East Investment & Trade Forum Successfully Held

2023-9-5 10:15:03

Beijing-Middle East Investment & Trade Forum was held on the afternoon of September 4 at the China National Convention Center as one of the key promotion and negotiation activities under 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS). This is the first time that a thematic promotion event targeted at the Middle East is held under CIFTIS. The forum was hosted by CCPIT Beijing, Beijing Chamber of International Commerce, Saudi-Chinese Business Council and Abu Dhabi Investment Office, co-hosted by Bank of China as co-host and jointly organized by Dubai Chamber of Commerce.

Sima Hong, Vice Mayor of Beijing, Lin Jingzhen, Vice President of Bank of China, Abdullah Musatat, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in China, Mohammed Al Ajlan, Chairman of Saudi-Chinese Business Council, and Mohamed Alabbar, Founder of Emaar Properties, attended the forum and delivered speeches. The forum also attracted more than 300 representatives, including officials from government departments and embassies of 11 countries in the Middle East, such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt and Turkey, senior representatives of well-known financial and investment institutions, business chambers and associations, and enterprises, heads of relevant departments and districts in Beijing, and representatives of domestic enterprises.

This forum represents a strategic initiative in line with the outcomes of visits by Beijing's leadership to the Middle East, aiming at strengthening investment and trade cooperation with the Middle East countries and serving China’s overall diplomacy. Under the theme of “cooperation, development and mutual benefits”, the forum encompasses several sessions including guest speeches, thematic promotion, thematic dialogues and enterprise matchmaking, with a focus on national business environment, international financial investment and services, and international commercial law services and guarantees.

Sima Hong highlighted the significance of President Xi Jinping’s video address to 2023 CIFTIS on September 2, where he unveiled pivotal measures to deepen China’s high-level opening-up in trade in services, fully demonstrating China’s commitment to expanding its opening-up. In recent years, oriented towards the strategic positioning of “four centers”, Beijing has served and got integrated into the new development paradigm through “five key projects”, comprehensively deepened reforms, expanded high-level opening up and promoted high-quality development. In the first half of this year, Beijing’s economy maintained a good momentum, with its GDP reaching RMB 2,062.13 billion, a year-on-year increase of 5.5%. Furthermore, the total import and export value reached a record high at RMB 1.79 trillion, while foreign capital utilization stood at USD 9.9 billion. Beijing has attracted over 37,000 foreign-invested enterprises from more than 165 countries and regions, and gathers the headquarters of 53 Fortune 500 companies, ranking first globally for 10 years in a row. Beijing today is open, inclusive and full of charm, and Beijing tomorrow is full of opportunities with promising prospects. Sima Hong stressed the complementarity between China and the Middle East and the untapped potential for cooperation. She noted that the “Belt and Road Initiative” has opened up new opportunities for the cooperation between Beijing and the Middle East nations and brought the exchanges between the two sides increasingly closer. Sima Hong further emphasized that Beijing boasts the large market, advanced technologies and substantial industrial experience that the Middle East countries need, and hoped that Beijing could contribute to the economic and social development of the Middle East countries through cooperation. She welcomed the investment institutions and enterprises from the Middle East to invest in Beijing, strengthen exchanges and cooperation  across various sectors, such as smart cities, new energy vehicles, Internet, biomedicine, high-end equipment manufacturing, modern logistics, and sustainable development, and deeply participate in the opening up of Beijing’s financial industry, along with involvement in the construction of the International Center for Science & Technology Innovation and the international consumption center city.

Lin Jingzhen said that financial cooperation is one of the key topics of economic and trade cooperation between China and the Middle East, with financial services serving as a critical guarantee for implementation of the “Belt and Road Initiative”. Bank of China will give full play to its features in globalized development and integrated operation, strive to be the main financial force that serves the high-level opening up, and consistently provide high-quality and efficient financial services such as cross-border settlement, capital financing and foreign exchange for enterprises, to facilitate trade and investment cooperation between China and the Middle East, and actively promote capital financing within the framework of the “Belt and Road Initiative”.

Musatat, Ajlan and Alabbar, representing Middle Eastern governments, business chambers and associations and enterprises respectively, shared their perspectives during the event. They highly appreciated the rapid growth of Arab-Chinese economic and trade cooperation in recent years, and hoped that under the vision of deepening all-round cooperation, the two sides will strive to create a favorable investment environment, enhance close exchanges and cooperation between governments and enterprises, and continuously expand new trade and investment partnerships.

The thematic promotion session titled “Beijing-Middle East Economic and Trade Cooperation and Prospects” demonstrated Beijing’s development achievements, investment environment and opening-up measures in the new era, as well as the investment and business environment of key countries in the Middle East, aiming at enhancing mutual understanding, looking into the development prospects, drawing a blueprint for cooperation, and exploring cooperation opportunities. Cao Yuanzheng, a well-known economist, and representatives of the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi Investment Office shared their insights at the session.

Centered on the financial cooperation between China and the Middle East, the thematic dialogue on international financial investment and services gathered representatives from Xicheng District, along with heads of banks, investment institutions and large enterprises in China and Arab countries, to explore ways to construct a trade and investment bridge with professional financial services, promote the integration of innovation chain, financial chain and industrial chain, thereby assisting enterprises in achieving localized development and globalization strategy. Furthermore, the dialogue sought to support Chinese enterprises in expanding their share in the international market, and attracting investment from the Middle East into Beijing.

Under the topic of “giving full play to the role of diverse legal service entities in Beijing-Middle East cross-border investment and trade”, the international commercial law services and guarantees dialogue attracted heads of organizations specializing in international commercial dispute prevention and settlement, well-known arbitration institutions at home and abroad, professional commercial mediation institutions, foreign-related notary offices, and international law firms. The dialogue communicated and promoted the high-quality development achievements of Beijing’s foreign-related legal services, and helped enterprises enhance their awareness of risk prevention in international business operations, settle disputes by internationally recognized methods such as mediation and arbitration, and enhance their ability to protect their legitimate rights and interests through legal means, thereby contributing to their steady and enduring development.

There were also negotiations among enterprises held under this forum, where dozens of the Middle East enterprises talked face-to-face with domestic enterprises about how to deepen the cooperation, seek business opportunities and realize common development.

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