Arab League, China to increase energy, gas cooperation

Parties to support SME's in energy efficiency, boost energy security, and reduce environmental impact of energy consumption

Arab League, China to increase energy, gas cooperation

The Arab League and China agreed to strengthen cooperation in the field of natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency on the basis of mutual interest and experience sharing, a joint statement announced on Thursday.

According to the joint statement issued after the Arab-China Cooperation Conference in Egypt's capital Cairo, which is currently running between Nov. 5 and 8, the Arab Union and China agreed to strengthen cooperation in electricity, natural gas and renewable energy. 

Both parties agreed to strengthen cooperation for energy efficiency and support small and medium-sized institutions working in this area. They also decided to increase energy security and reduce the environmental impact of energy consumption, according to the statement.

"The importance of strengthening mutual cooperation is emphasized by the fact that Arab countries have about half of the world's oil reserves and China has modern technologies in oil exploration, transportation, refining and manufacturing," the statement read.

Arab countries are the most important source of crude oil for Beijing.

In 2016, the bilateral trade volume between Arab countries and China totaled $171 billion. China's exports to the Arab countries accounted for $101 billion, while the volume of Arab countries' exports to China was $70 billion.

Beijing, in its efforts to attain a more prominent global role, launched 'Belt and Road' initiative (BRI), which aims at creating trade routes and relations from China to deep in Europe similar to Silk Road. China invested billions of dollars and promised to pour more to mainly infrastructure, transport and other projects to link the destination countries to its trade centers. 

The cooperation with the Arab countries is in line with its policy of projecting power and creating clout trough direct and indirect investments.