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MOFCOM Holds Press Conference on the 4th China-Arab States Expo

[Gao Feng]: Dear friends from the press, good morning. Welcome to the Press Conference on the 4th China-Arab States Expo. Attending were Vice Minister of Commerce Mr. Qian Keming, Vice Chairman of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Mr. Liu Kewei, and Vice Chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Mr. Zhang Shenfeng. I am Gao Feng, the host of today鈥檚 press conference, Deputy Director of the General Office and spokesperson.

Today, Vice Minister Qian Keming will introduce the economic and trade cooperation between China and Arab states in recent years and the relevant situation of the China-Arab States Expo. Vice Chairman Zhang Shenfeng will introduce the cooperation carried out by intermediary organizations including the Chinese and Arab business sectors and associations in recent years. Vice Chairman Liu Kewei will introduce the relevant preparations for the 4th China-Arab States Expo. The three spokespersons will then answer the questions from the press.

Now, I will give the floor to Vice Minister Qian Keming.

[Qian Keming]: Dear guests, friends from the press, good morning. I am very pleased to attend the press conference with Vice Chairman Liu Kewei and Vice Chairman Zhang Shenfeng and communicate with you. Next I will introduce two parts: first, the economic and trade relations between China and Arab states, and second, the relevant situation of the China-Arab States Expo.

China has always attached great importance to developing relations with Arab states. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, President Xi Jinping has visited the Arab world twice and put forward a series of new ideas, new strategies and new measures to deepen China-Arab cooperation in the new era. Together with the leaders of Arab states, they have guided the long-term development of China-Arab relations. In July 2018, the 8th Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum was successfully held in Beijing. President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony and delivered an important speech, announcing the establishment of a Sino-Arab future-oriented strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and common development. He pointed out that China and Arab should "enhance strategic mutual trust, realize the dream of rejuvenation, achieve mutual benefit and win-win results, promote tolerance and mutual learning, and strive to build a community of a shared future", which provided the direction, plan and guidance for the all-round cooperation between China and Arab states in the new era.

The Arab states are located at the intersection of the 鈥淏elt and Road鈥and are among the important participants and founders of the Silk Road civilization in history. The friendship between China and Arab states has a long history and will stay as strong as ever. The Chinese and Arab people will be together for better and for worse, just like one family. As natural partners in jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative, the Arab states actively support and respond to the Belt and Road Initiative and 18 states have signed cooperation documents for this sake. With the joint efforts of both sides, China-Arab cooperation in building the Belt and Road Initiative has achieved fruitful results, and has great potential for development and broad prospects in the future.

Economic and trade cooperation is the longest and most active factor in China-Arab relations and an inexhaustible driving force for the development of China-Arab relations. In recent years, China-Arab economic and trade cooperation has maintained a good momentum. In 2018, the bilateral trade volume was 244.3 billion U.S. dollars, up 28% year on year. The value of new contracted projects signed by Chinese enterprises in Arab states was 35.6 billion U.S. dollars, up 9% year on year. Chinese enterprises directly invested 1.2 billion U.S. dollars in Arab states, covering infrastructure, manufacturing, e-commerce, and finance. Next, China will further connect its development strategies with Arab states, work together to build the Belt and Road Initiative and continuously push China-Arab economic and trade cooperation to a new level.

[Qian Keming]: First, continue to deepen connectivity cooperation. Connectivity cooperation is the first priority of China-Arab economic and trade cooperation. The Arab states serve as an important node in the connectivity building of the 鈥淏elt and Road鈥 In the economic transformation, Arab鈥檚 demand for infrastructure expansion and upgrading is rising. China attaches great importance to this and is willing to continue to encourage Chinese enterprises and financial institutions to have in-depth cooperation with Arab in ports, railways, electric power and communications, actively participate in the post-war reconstruction of relevant countries, and help Arab improve people's livelihood and achieve industrial revitalization.

Second, further consolidate energy cooperation. The cooperations in oil and gas and low-carbon energy are the "two-wheels" of China-Arab economic and trade cooperation. China and Arab are important energy partners. China is willing to consolidate long-term oil and gas trade relations with Arab states, expand cooperation in oilfield engineering services, refinery construction and equipment manufacturing, jointly implement more oil and gas block development and petrochemical investment projects, and explore cooperation in crude oil futures and storage and transportation facilities. At the same time, in low-carbon energy fields such as nuclear energy, solar energy, wind energy and hydropower, China is also willing to actively cooperate with Arab states to implement more projects and strive to build a new pattern of energy cooperation between China and Arab in the new era.

Third, actively promote financial and high-tech cooperation, the "two wings" of China-Arab economic and trade cooperation. China is willing to work with the Arab states to give play to the driving role of high-tech and the supporting role of financial cooperation, encourage enterprises and financial institutions of both sides to carry out mutually beneficial cooperation in investment and financing, trading platforms, bond underwriting and selling, currency swaps and settlements and encourage them to have innovative cooperation in high-tech fields such as artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, new materials, bio-pharmaceuticals, smart cities, aviation blue sky, and special agriculture.

Fourth, vigorously promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, the focus of China-Arab economic and trade cooperation. China is willing to continue to open its markets to Arab states, establish an inter-governmental e-commerce cooperation mechanism, and actively promote negotiations on free trade agreements with the Gulf Cooperation Council and Palestine. China will actively encourage strong enterprises to cooperate with Arab countries in investment, construction and operation of economic and trade parks, share experience in Chinese industrial development and investment attraction, actively participate in the industrialization of Arab states, create more high-quality employment opportunities for localities and facilitate the economic diversification and sustainable development of Arab states.

[Qian Keming]: Next I will briefly introduce the relevant situation of the China-Arab Expo. Later Vice President Liu and Vice President Zhang will give more detailed introduction.

The China-Arab Expo is co-hosted by the Ministry of Commerce, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and the People's Government of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Since 2013, it has been held for three times, adhering to the goal of 鈥渟erving national strategy and focusing on economic and trade cooperation鈥 Guided by this goal, it has gradually developed into an international expo integrating high-level conversations, economic and trade promotion, and exhibition and negotiation. In January 2016, President Xi Jinping said in a speech at the headquarters of the League of Arab States that the China-Arab Expo has become an important platform for jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative between China and Arab.

The 4th China-Arab Expo will be held in Yinchuan, Ningxia, from September 5th to 8th, 2019. With the principle of 鈥淚nheriting Friendship, Deepening Cooperation and Common Development鈥and the theme of New Opportunity and New Future鈥 the expo will focus on trade and investment, Internet plus, cross-border e-commerce, infrastructure, capacity cooperation and hold investment and trade promotion, conferences and forums and exhibitions to promote China-Arab cooperation in the above areas.

As one of the organizers of the China-Arab States Expo, the Ministry of Commerce has been actively supporting all parties concerned in jointly running the Expo. At present, the preparatory work for this expo is being actively promoted. China sincerely welcomes relevant countries to send high-level delegations to attend the Expo as well as relevant enterprises to sign up for the Expo. We鈥檇 like to work with the Arab countries to make good use of China-Arab States Expo as an open international cooperation platform for jointly discussing the cooperation vision and draw a blueprint for cooperation, thus we promote the development of China-Arab strategic partnership, build an open world economy, promote the Belt and Road Initiative and build a community of a shared future for mankind. We believe that Yinchuan, which enjoys the reputation of 鈥淪outhern Frontier鈥 will present us with a splendid and fruitful China-Arab States Expo.

Thank you all!

[Gao Feng]: Thank you, Vice Minister Qian Keming, for your introduction. Next, Vice Chairman Zhang Shenfeng will introduce the relevant situation.

[Zhang Shenfeng]: Dear Vice Minister Qian Keming, Vice Chairman Liu Kewei, comrades, friends of the press, good morning, everyone. It鈥檚 very a great pleasure to participate in today's press conference.

Just now, Vice Minister Qian Keming introduced the economic and trade exchanges between China and the countries along the Belt and Road routes in recent years, and the positive role played by the China-Arab States Expo as an important platform for the Belt and Road Initiative. In the vigorously developing economic and trade relations between China and Arab states, the industrial and commercial sectors of both sides are important participants and builders. Closely following the deployment of the China's diplomatic and economic work, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) has strengthened extensive contacts with Arab national business associations, trade and investment promotion agencies, and adopted various measures to promote exchanges and cooperation between the enterprises of the two sides, which have made great contribution to the construction of the "1+2+3" cooperation pattern between China and Arab states and the construction of the Belt and Road. Next, I will introduce the work done by CCPIT in promoting economic and trade cooperation between China and the Arab countries in recent years.

First, the 8th China-Arab Business Conference and the 6th Investment Seminar were held. In April 2019, the CCPIT and the League of Arab States Secretariat, the Tunisian Foreign Investment Promotion Agency and the Arab Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry jointly hosted the 8th China-Arab Business Conference and the 6th Investment Seminar in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia. The CCPIT organized nearly 200 representatives of Chinese enterprises and more than 400 representatives from 12 Arab countries to participate in the conference, which provided a pragmatic cooperation platform for the Chinese and Arabian commercial and business sectors.

Second, we improved the mechanism of industrial and commercial cooperation. Up to June this year, the CCPIT has established multi-bilateral business cooperation mechanisms with 47 Arab business associations and trade and investment promotion agencies. The CCPIT also initiated and established the Silk Road Business Council in 2015, and has invited the commerce and industry chambers of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, UAE, Qatar, Tunisia and other countries to join in it. The Council has played an active role in promoting the concept of the Belt and Road cooperation and promoting the pragmatic cooperation between China and Arab states.

Third, we actively carried out the trade and investment promotion activities. Since 2017, we held several multi-bilateral economic and trade forums, investment promotion activities and exhibitions in several Arab countries to help Chinese and Arab companies to conduct bilateral cooperation. We organized Chinese enterprises to conduct investigations in Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, United Arab Emirates Jebel Ali Free Zone, etc. to create favorable conditions for promoting the enterprises to enter into overseas parks and carry out international production capacity and equipment manufacturing cooperation.

Fourth, we vigorously promoted commercial and legal cooperation. In 2015, the CCPIT and the relevant agencies of the Arab countries jointly established the China-Africa Chamber of Commerce Commercial Mediation Center to provide professional channels for enterprises to resolve economic and trade disputes. In 2019, the Federation of Chambers of Commerce in Lebanon established a mediation and arbitration cooperation platform under the framework of the China-Arab Joint Chamber of Commerce to help enterprises strengthen risk prevention and effectively resolve disputes.

[Zhang Shenfeng]: Next, I will introduce the work to be undertaken by CCPIT during the China-Arab States Expo this year.

As one of the organizers of the Expo, CCPIT will mainly take charge of the following two work.

The first task is to organize an exhibition area for the Belt and Road cooperation. The exhibition area for the Belt and Road cooperation plans to cover an area of 6,000 square meters, divided into two areas: the National Pavilion and the Brand Enterprises. We will invite more than 10 Arab countries and more than 30 countries along the Belt and Road routes to participate. The National Pavilion exhibition area mainly displays national and regional customs and culture, trade and investment projects and policies, industrial conditions, tourism resources, cooperation projects, and advanced technologies. The brand enterprise exhibition area mainly displays the image, cooperation projects, superior products and featured commodities of foreign intelligent manufacturing, mechanical equipment, electronic communication, technology life, new energy, port logistics, infrastructure, finance, education, and cultural tourism. We will work hard to ensure that the content of the exhibition is diversified and that the industries of each country are highlighted. Up to now, more than 20 countries and regions such as the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Djibouti and Oman have expressed their intention to participate.

The second work of the CCPIT is to hold the third China-Arab Business Summit with the Ningxia Autonomous Region Government, the League of Arab States Secretariat, and the General Union of Arab Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The China-Arab Business Summit is a high-level conversation and cooperation platform for the high profile business community under the framework of the China-Arab States Expo. This year's China-Arab Business Summit will be held in September 5-6, 2019. The theme is "focusing on economic and trade cooperation and promoting two-way communication". The number of participants are expected to reach around 500. Chinese and foreign enterprises and business associations such as China Communications Construction, China Steel, China Merchants Group, Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Bureau, and Saudi Chamber of Commerce and Industry all expressed their intention to participate. The China-Arab Business Summit will include the opening ceremony, keynote speech, press conference for achievements, project signing, country promotion, negotiation and matchmaking, China-Arab Joint Chamber of Commerce Chinese Council meeting, Xinhua News Agency national brand entering the Expo, etc. Outcome documents such as the 2019 Report on the Belt and Road Cooperation Opportunities for China, Arab Countries and the Third Market Countries, and the 2018 Annual Report on China-Africa Economic and Trade Relations Development Process.

The above work undertaken by the CCPIT is progressing steadily. We will work closely with the Ministry of Commerce and the People's Government of Ningxia Autonomous Region to promote various tasks. We will ensure the success of the 4th China-Arab States Expo to make further contributions to the further development of cooperation with the Arab countries in the economic and trade fields, and to build a new pattern of all-round, multi-level and wide-ranging opening up.

Thank you all!

[Gao Feng]: Thanks for the introduction of Mr. Zhang Shenfeng. Next, Vice Chairman Liu Ke will brief you on the situation.

[Liu Kewei]: Friends from the media, ladies and gentlemen, good morning everyone. First of all, on behalf of the People's Government of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, I would like to thank all of you for your concern and support for the China-Arab States Expo.

Just now, Vice Minister Qian Keming and Vice Chairman Zhang Shenfeng introduced related situations respectively. Here, I will put emphasis on the preparation situation of the fourth China-Arab States Expo.

China-Arab States Expo is a national and comprehensive platform for China and Arab states to construct 鈥淏elt and Road鈥initiative jointly, and is also an important opportunity for Ningxia to promote the development of open economy. Since 2010, Ministry of Commerce, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and the People鈥檚 Government of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region have successfully held China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum for 3 times and China-Arab States Expo for 3 times, which have played significant roles in promoting economic and trade communication between China and the countries and regions along 鈥淏elt and Road鈥漴outes including Arab States, and also generated active achievements in promoting the level of opening up and economic and social development of Ningxia.

In all previous economic and trade forums and expositions, there were more than 80 national, regional and international institutions, over 140 large-scale business associations, a total of 7,732 representatives of large and medium-sized enterprises and financial institutions and more than 57,000 exhibitors and purchasers, and 1129 agreements of various types have been signed. Expositions have promoted the development of open economy in Ningxia. Over the past five years, imports and exports business of Ningxia has grown steadily, with an actual Foreign Direct Investment reaching USD 1.06 billion and USD 500 million in 2018. A total of 148 overseas enterprises have been established in 30 countries and regions. The open environment of Ningxia is constantly optimized. Our online administrative service capability ranks first in Northwest China. We have opened a platform called "Ning Trade Unimpeded" to provide comprehensive services for the whole process and chain of foreign trade. We have realized the integration of customs clearance with the whole country, and the coverage rate of "single window" cargo declaration service for international trade has reached 100%.

The Fourth China-Arab States Expo will be held in Yinchuan City, Ningxia from Sep. 5th to 8th this year. The Expo will continue to be jointly held by the Ministry of Commerce, CCPIT and the People's Government of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. The Expo will be held in accordance with the principle of "inheriting friendship, deepening cooperation and common development" and the theme of "new opportunities and new future." It consists of an opening conference, eight exhibitions, investment and trade promotion activities, four conference forums and a series of theme province (Jiangsu) activities. At present, we have carried out the preparatory work for the Expo in an all-round way, among which guest invitation, exhibition, conferences & forums and implementation of the results are all proceeding well. On the basis of summing up the past experience in organizing expositions, we will further strengthen the practice of economic and trade cooperation and improve the service level.

Efforts will be made from the following aspects:

[Liu Kewei]: The first is to better serve the Construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. The Expo this year thoroughly puts into implementation the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping's important speeches at the Second "Belt & Road" Forum for International Cooperation and the 8th Ministerial Meeting of the CASCF. It actively carries on and implements the relevant economic and trade cooperation achievements of these two forums. Besides, it elaborately designs and organizes economic and trade exchanges and exhibition activities in the fields of modern agriculture, high technology, infrastructure, production capacity cooperation, "Internet + Health Care" and other fields, and actively promotes policy communication and unimpeded trade with countries and regions along the countries along the Belt and Road Initiative routes, including Arab countries.

The second is to better reflect and focus on economy and trade to promote practical cooperation. We have made clear the philosophy of "focusing on economy and trade, holding and strengthening exhibitions to improve the forums". While successfully holding six categories of exhibitions, we have also held eight investment and trade promotion activities. We have strengthened efforts in the invitation of international organizations, business association and enterprises at home and abroad. At present, international and regional organizations, such as the World Food Programme, the Secretariat of the League of Arab States, the General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for Arab Countries, and 73 foreign business associations and enterprises have initially decided to attend the meeting, such as the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Lebanese Fransa Bank. We have set up an investment promotion department to regularly coordinate domestic and foreign economic and the trade and investment projects and promote more projects to be signed through the China-Arab States Expo platform.

The third is to better adhere to the joint efforts of the ministries and regions and improve the quality of the conferences. In this China-Arab States Expo, China鈥檚 relevant ministries and commissions will jointly hold 11 activities with Ningxia: the Ministry of Commerce and our region are to jointly organize the Infrastructure and Production Capacity Cooperation Exhibition as well as the Overseas Park Investment Promotion Fair, the Logistics Cooperation Fair, the Investment and Production Capacity Cooperation Conference; CCPIT and our region are to jointly hold the China-Arab Business Summit, "Belt & Road" Cooperative Innovation Products Exhibition and the Promotion Fair for the countries along the "Belt & Road" routes; the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and our region are to jointly organize the Modern Agriculture Exhibition and Dialogue Conference on Agricultural and Industrial Cooperation; the Ministry of Science and Technology and our region are to jointly hold the Hi-Tech Equipment Exhibition and Technical Achievements Promotion and Docking Fair as well as China-Arab Technological Innovation and Cooperation Conference; the National Network Information Office and our region are to jointly organize the Online Silk Road Conference; the National Health Committee, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People's Republic of China respectively instructed the "Internet + Health Care" Industry Exhibition and Application Conference; they also instructed the Sino-Arab Traveler Conference. At these exhibitions, conferences and forums, relevant national policies will be communicated and released to promote the exhibition of advanced technological achievements and the economic and trade cooperation and communication.

The fourth is to highlight the display and promotion of scientific and technological innovation achievements. Scientific and technological innovation is playing an increasingly important role in economic and social development, and scientific and technological innovation cooperation among countries is also increasing. This Expo will actively follow this trend and focus more on cutting-edge science and technology and innovative results in the exhibition. In this Expo, exhibitions and interactive experiences of High-tech achievements in AI, 5G, aerospace, new energy and other fields will be available, such as "Belt & Road" Cooperative Innovative Products Exhibition jointly organized by CCPIT and our region, the Hi-Tech Equipment Exhibition and Technical Achievements Promotion and Docking Fair jointly held with the Ministry of Science and Technology, etc.

The fifth is to provide better and more efficient organizing services. The Exposition has been held for three times, and we hope that each one will be better than the previous one. We will conscientiously sum up the work experience of the previous conferences, further improve services, coordinate all varieties of resources, provide personalized and socialized services, raise the international and professional standards, and better meet the needs of all forum organizations and guests. During the Expo, we will organize participants to inspect economic and social development of Ningxia on the spot. You can also enter the online panorama exhibition hall through the official website of the China-Arab States Expo to participate in the exhibition online and offline, so as to better learn about China-Arab States Expo and Ningxia as well. At the same time, you will gain more through participating in the exhibition.

Dear media friends, September is the harvest season and Ningxia is at its best in September. Here, I warmly invite the media friends to come to Ningxia. While reporting on the grand occasion of the Fourth China-Arab States Expo, you can also enjoy the delicious food and mellow wine and appreciate the excellent southern scenery of the North area of the Great Wall.

China Arab TV: Minister Qian, amid rising trade protectionism and challenges to the free trade system, how will China-Arab relations overcome the unfavorable external factors? Thank you.

Qian Keming: It鈥檚 a good question. In recent years, free trade and free trade system in the world have been confronted with the challenges of rising trade protectionism and even trade disputes and frictions started by some countries. But China and Arab countries remain firm champions of the free trade system, as we benefited from deep integration into global division of labor and open economic development. We have not only kept an open mind for win-win cooperation, but also taken numerous concrete steps to promote trade liberalization worldwide.

For example, China has held many rounds of FTA negotiations with the Gulf Cooperation Council, and launched the first round of FTA negotiation with Palestine in January this year. China has also set up task forces on trade connectivity with many Arab countries to consult over and resolve issues in trade liberalization.

Apart from trade, we have held negotiations with Arab countries on investment agreement upgrading, double taxation avoidance, and trade remedies. We are also deepening cooperation in quality inspection and standardization, customs, and e-commerce. We encourage financial institutions of the two sides to set up branches in each other鈥檚 territory to provide funding support for mutual investment.

Arab countries have taken an active part in the CIIE. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Morocco participated in the national exhibition last year in Shanghai, and 93 companies from 17 Arab countries took part in the business exhibition. Today we are holding this press conference for China-Arab Expo, dedicated to the cooperation between China and Arab countries. Just now, chairman Liu gave us an overview of the Expo this year, featuring rich events in such broad areas as trade, investment, technology and people-to-people exchanges. These are examples of the solid steps we are taking to safeguard global free trade system and trade liberalization. Thank you.

Xinhua News Agency: My question goes to Vice Chairman Liu Kewei. Ningxia is a landlocked region that connects the north with the south, the east with the west. What work has been done to build connectivity corridors in the air, on land and on line? How do you envisage the overall configuration of the corridors and what bottlenecks remain to be broken? Thank you.

Liu Kewei: As you said, Ningxia is a landlocked region in northwest China that is neither close to the border nor to the sea. This makes it all the more important for Ningxia to pursue opening-up and build corridors that link us with the outside. Over the years, Ningxia has taken an active part in the Belt and Road development, integrated into the overall opening-up of the nation, and made efforts in building opening-up corridors.

Regarding air corridor, notable progress has been made in airport construction and air transport capacity. The international airport traffic hub is basically completed, enabling seamless transfer and connect among high-speed railway, planes and road transport at the Hedong airport. The air transport capacity of Yinchuan airport has been growing by millions for four consecutive years. In 2018, the air passenger throughput reached 9.41 million, and is expected to hit 10 million this year. Up to now, Ningxia has opened 105 flight routes to 74 cities, among which 6 are international routes. Direct flights to all capital cities in the country have been accomplished.

Regarding land corridor, we have broken new ground in railway and road construction. The high-speed railway connecting Yinchuan and Xi鈥檃n, the intercity railway connecting Wuzhong and Zhongwei, and the expressway from Zhongwei to Lanzhou are being built at a faster speed. The Ningxia section of the high-speed railway from Baotou to Yinchuan will start construction next year, and the high-speed railway from Yinchuan to Xi鈥檃n, to Lanzhou and to Beijing are also being built. In terms of highway, the highway density of Ningxia reached 53.3km/100km虜 in 2018, higher than the national average. The traffic mileage of expressway stands at 1,678 km and expressway accessibility in all the counties was achieved in 2016.

Regarding online corridor, we have made efforts in telecommunications infrastructure construction and international cooperation. The western cloud base in Ningxia prioritizes big data industries, and the trunk networks connecting the base to Beijing, Xi鈥檃n and Taiyuan have been put into place. Our internet bandwidth reached 4.7T, on par with those in the advanced eastern regions. In 2018, we had 23 cross-border e-commerce operators. The information platform for China-Arab technology cooperation collected over 700,000 pieces of information to match supply and demand. In 2018, Yinchuan successfully held the Global Smart City Summit.

Having said that, there are still gaps to fill and room for improvement to achieve greater opening-up. In the next step, we will accelerate the construction of high-speed railway, a dream long-harbored by our people. We will also build more exits from the expressways to connect to the outside. We will improve the flight arrangement and route design to enhance the air transport capacity. We will step up international exchanges of the online Silk Road. All in all, we will seize the opportunities of the Belt and Road development and the opening-up endeavor to upgrade our connectivity through the construction of these corridors. Thank you.

Ningxia Daily: China-Arab Business Summit, a platform for senior business dialogue under the framework of the China-Arab Expo, has drawn a lot of attention from the business community, which is expected to play a major role. Could you share with us the main characteristics of this year鈥檚 summit and your expectations for the outcomes?

Zhang Shenfeng: Thank you for the question. I agree that the businesses are to play a major role. The business summit is an important ancillary event under the bigger framework of China-Arab Expo, and has been successfully held for two years. The third summit is scheduled for 5th to 6th of this month, with a turnout of about 500 people. The summit will focus on interpreting country-specific policies, sharing development experiences, releasing research findings, and promoting cooperation projects, and serve as a high-end platform for high-level dialogue, policy release and commercial cooperation between China and Arab countries as well as other Belt and Road partners. Compared with the past two years, this year the forum will have the following highlights: full preparation, smooth coordination, rich events, and broad impact.

The Summit is expected to deliver the following outcomes:

First, Report on Belt and Road Cooperation Opportunities for China and Arab Countries in Third Markets 2019 and China-Arab Trade and Economic Relations Progress Report 2018 will be published, reviewing the cooperation between China and Arab countries and identifying the goals and direction for the way forward.

Second, China-Arab commercial legal service platform will be launched to provide legal service for the commercial cooperation between China, Arab countries and Belt and Road partners.

Third, more attention will put to practical cooperation to implement the cooperation outcomes between China and Arab countries as well as Belt and Road countries. A series of events will be held, such as the Belt and Road countries promotions, council meeting of China-Arab joint chamber, and the inaugural ceremony of the national brands entering the Expo of Xinhua News Agency.

Now we are inviting participants to the expo. Over 100 business representatives from Chinese companies have applied, including CCCC, Sinosteel, Chinaharbor, Teda of Tianjin. The secretariat of League of Arab States, Arab Agriculture and Commerce Alliance, Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Bureau, Council of Saudi Chambers, Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, Aramco, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Irancham, CGEM have confirmed that they will send delegates. I believe more companies will continue to participate in this Expo.

Phoenix TV: Vice Chairman Liu Kewei, agricultural cooperation has been a focal point of China-Arab Expo given the geographical locations of the two sides. What fruits have been yielded in agricultural cooperation from the platform of China-Arab Expo? Thank you.

Liu Kewei: As you said, Ningxia and Arab countries enjoy advantages in agriculture respectively, and face common challenges of drought and water supply. Agriculture has been a critical part to the China-Arab Expo over the years. On this platform, we have achieved good progress in agricultural cooperation.

First, we have established cooperation relationship in agricultural technology and trade with 26 Belt and Road countries, some of which are Arab countries.

Second, a group of agricultural technology cooperation projects have been carried out, such as the green and smart water-saving technology platform, the potato technology demonstration base in Jordan, the date pest control project, and agricultural internet application.

Third, the agricultural companies from the two sides have growing exchanges. For example, agri-business in Ningxia went to Mauritania for cattle embryo transplant and achieved success. In Kyrgyzstan, we built a demonstration base for vegetable farming in winter, and introduced quality agricultural varieties from Arab countries.

Fourth, we held trainings for the promotion and application of agricultural technologies. We held about 20 international seminars for drought relief and water conservation, desertification prevention and control, attended by students from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Morocco.

Fifth, we broadened the channel for international trade of specialty agricultural products. The two sides stepped up cooperation by taking advantage of the international agricultural expos in China and Arab countries to jointly expand the international market. Thank you.

Gao Feng: The last question.

CGTN Arab: Minister Qian, China-Arab Expo has contributed to China-Arab commercial cooperation. How will MOFCOM, one of the hosts, continue to improve the top-level design and leverage the role of the Expo? Thank you.

Qian Keming: This is an important question. We will focus on the following areas:

First, we have a coordination mechanism between regions and government agencies, as the Expo is jointly held by MOFCOM, CCPIT, and Ningxia autonomous region. Vice Chairman Liu just now said that authorities on health, agriculture, science and technology, and education are also involved to step up coordination on problems encountered in the Expo.

Second, we will improve outcome design. An expo is supposed to deliver some outcomes, such as the cooperation agreements signed with Arab countries. We will hold consultations to come up with proper outcomes so that the Expo becomes a platform to implement and display the outcomes of Belt and Road development.

Third, we will step up coordination among different expos. Every year many expos are held. You have attended many press conferences for these expos right here, such as the CIIE and China-Arab Trade and Economic Expo held in Changsha not long ago. Today it鈥檚 about China-Arab Expo. Africa and the Middle East are home to many Arab countries. We need to have sound coordination as to which of them participate in the China-Africa Trade and Economic Expo and which of them go to the China-Arab Expo, as they each have different focus and need to develop in a coordinated way.

I believe if we do a good job in these three areas, or the top-level design as you put it, it will be useful to the sustained development of the Expo. Thank you.

Gao Feng: This is the end of the press conference. Thanks to the three speakers and journalists. Thank you.

(All information published in this website is authentic in Chinese. English is provided for reference only. )

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