CHINA TO REGISTER A NEW CHAPTER OF ECONOMIC PROSPERITY IN MIDDLE EAST
By: Mushtaq Hurra
China is not only the world’s largest nation in terms of population but is growing as the supreme economic hub with technocrats of international repute who have earned a good name in the technological circles across the globe, making China their second home. The country has become a prominent political actor in South East Asia in particular and the world in general given its strong economic growth and hegemony over the world economy. South Asian markets are flooded with Chinese goods preferred by the people for their flexible and affordable prices. China’s economic and trade relations are not confined to South Asian countries and have rather expanded beyond geographical and regional frontiers from Middle East to African nations. It is amazing that Chinese goods are not any less popular in West as well.
Off late, China has shifted its focus on Middle East. She knows that economic ventures in the oil rich region could yield her the dividends of billions and trillions. Her ties with Iran and Saudi Arabia are gaining pace, and these regional powers are about to register a new chapter of economic development. Chinese goods are seen in abundance in Iranian markets. According to an agreement signed between Iran and a China, a Chinese construction company known as China railway Construction Corporation is all set to construct a railway line from Tehran to Iraqi frontier. This route will make better connectivity between central Asia and the Arab world. It is pertinent to mention here that this Chinese construction firm had successfully laid the Monorail project in the holy city of Mekkah in 2010, to facilitate dense annual Hajj processions.
China’s energy requirements are growing; it has become world’s largest consumer of petroleum products during the last three decades. China imports sixty lakh barrels of crude oil daily. According to analysts and experts, China’s energy requirements will increase will increase by 70% during the next two decades. Many oil producing countries prefer to make oil deals China given the value of their produce available in Chinese markets. Besides rich economic dividends, healthy relations with China can ensure the stability of these countries in the changing political paradigms. China is capable to purchase oil from any market of the world.
China is purchasing oil from different regions of the world including Middle East, and interestingly, Middle east has become very important for China to develop relations with it beyond oil and gas. China has managed to win the global acknowledgement for her economic hegemony beyond. China is rapidly expanding its extraordinary economic growth to other parts of the world, and Middle east is in its top priority for trade and commerce. Apart from oil transactions with Middle East, China is displaying its unique technological adeptness and advancement in the region. Chinese technocrats are working in many Middle east countries , and have already proven their mettle there by the dint of their skill and artistry. Chinese workforce is working in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other countries of the region. Chinese technological advancement is not confined to Middle east alone rather many African nations are enjoying Chinese technological advent on their lands. China is prioritizing those countries which are rich in mineral wealth to work symbiotically for its own interests, as well as for the development of other country. China has not confined its operations to oil transactions rather has played a vital role in improving the quality of workforce there. Most of the economic experts and analysts believe that China will emerge as the next super power of the world.
For its energy requirements, China is intending to make ventures in central Asia as well. According to reports, China will be importing more than 70% of its oil from Middle East by 2020. China’s oil transactions with Middle east have increased by manifolds during the last few years. Iran and Angola are contributing 10% each to China’s oil needs while as Saudi Arabia’s contribution is 20%.
China’s affiliations with Middle east dates back to 90’s when China national Petroleum corporation managed to get a contract to store crude oil in Kuwait way back 1995. China is highly dependent on Middle East for its energy requirements. Off late, Saudi Arabia has emerged as the largest oil supplier to China, and thus Sino-Arab relations have become better and healthier. Besides purchasing oil from Saudi Arabia, China is all set provide its technological expertise to Saudi Arabia for oil refining purposes. China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation have had negotiations with Saudi Aramco to establish an oil refinery at Guangdong China at the cost of 1.2 billion dollars. Establishment of another refinery at Fujian is in the pipeline.
China is preferring the regions rich in oil wealth for trade and commerce. Iran is one such region, and China has maintained healthy relations with Iran despite UN sanctions on it. She knows that Iran can fulfill its energy demands to a good extent. China’s trade with Middle East has seen a steep rise of 87% during 2005 to 2009.China knows that healthy trade links with Middle east can boost its economy further. China has over taken America in exporting goods and services to Middle East. Chinese manufacturing companies produce less expensive goods for Middle East nations. Chinese goods are selling like hot cakes in Gaza strip for their affordable and low prices. Even Egyptian people prefer to buy low cost Chinese cars.
China’s investment in Middle East is gaining momentum. Her investment in the region has from one billion dollar in 2005 to 18 billion dollars in 2012.Her main fields of investment in the region are transportation, housing, metallurgy and real estate. China’s total investment in Saudi Arabia and Turkey has been more than 21 billion dollars. She has become the largest investor in Iran and Iraq. Many African nations have begun to invite Chinese companies and technocrats to work in their countries. Egypt has sought Chinese expertise in the economic zone near Suez canal.
Dubai, which is emerging as an important trade center globally, has been China’s favorite recent economic destination.China’s trade with Dubai had crossed 100 billion dollar mark way back in 2015.According to Dubai international finance centre, more than 2300 Chinese companies have been registered to run different commercial operation in the commercial hub of Asia which is assuming an international status. Almost 2 lakh Chinese workmen are putting up at UAE. Most of the Chinese banks including industrial and commercial Bank of China have opened numerous branches in UAE for easy transitions.170 Chinese companies have offices and godowns in Jebel Ali free zone. This area is emerging as a hub of Chinese trade in UAE.
China’s unprecedented and exemplary success on economic fronts has been acknowledged by one and all. Even West is surprised to see the rise of China at global level. The developed China is all set to control the world economy from Beijing. China is Keen better its relations with Muslim world. CPEC and transportation in different holy Muslim cities including Makah has won her good name and reputation in the Muslim world. Made in China goods of religious importance like automated rosaries, digital Qurans with different exegesis available in multiple languages, prayer mats, scarves, veils etc are selling like hot cakes in different Muslim countries, and thus China’s relations with Muslims have improved considerably. The Arab China estates cooperation forum, established in 2002, has successfully converted China’s dreams into reality. Chinese language, literature and culture are being studied in different Muslim countries. Many thousand Arabian students have completed their studies in China and many thousands are pursuing different courses in Chinese colleges and universities. Middle East has become a cherished tourist destination for thousands of Chinese tourists and travelers including religious pilgrims.
The writer is a teacher and can be reached at [email protected]