Minister: China is evaluating Libyan project security

By Li Jingrong
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 7, 2012
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During a NPC press conference Wednesday morning, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming answered a question from about the damage of Chinese-funded enterprises in Libya and what measures the ministry will take to protect Chinese-funded enterprises to conduct normal business activities in Libya.

Minister of Commerce Chen Deming at a news conference of the Fifth Session of the 11th National People's Congress in Beijing on March 7, 2012.

Minister of Commerce Chen Deming at a news conference of the Fifth Session of the 11th National People's Congress in Beijing on March 7, 2012.

Minister Chen stressed that Chinese government departments, including the Ministry of Commerce, will work to guarantee the safety of Chinese enterprises' property and projects, including overseas investment, and the personal safety of Chinese citizens and construction teams.

"Libya's situation happened suddenly. We have created measures on how to better protect our citizens and projects in the future," said the minister. "At that time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and other departments immediately organized the safe withdrawal of 35,800 people."

Chen made a clarification on Chinese investment in Libya. He said: "Media reported that we have billions of dollars in investment there, which actually is wrong. We have no investment in Libya. However, we do have 10-odd billion dollars in projects there. Some of these projects have been completed and need check and approval, and some are near completion. Most of them are residential projects in Libya's urban and suburban areas."

Chen said these projects were heavily attacked by gunfire and suffered serious damage during the unrest and civil war in Libya, as well as from the intervention of foreign powers.

Chen pointed out that China is negotiating with the Libyan government, and hopes that the Libyan government correctly handles and compensates these projects in accordance with international practice and laws.

"Libya hopes Chinese companies and personnel come back as soon as possible to restore these projects. We are now assessing and estimating their security," said the minister.

Chen said that the Ministry of Commerce recently organized a delegation to make an inspection tour of Libya. The delegation composed of the Director of the Department of International Cooperation under the ministry and the entrepreneurs participating in the construction projects in Libya. "The delegation assessed and estimated the current situation in Libya so as to see if the projects can be restored and our workers can go back."

"We will consider the issue as soon as conditions permit," he said.

"From the situation in Libya, we can also see the importance of stability, and the importance of safety in a country," said Chen.

Chen also mentioned the Chinese projects in Syria, which are now being looked after by some rear personnel. "Most project staff workers already began to return to China. There are nearly 100 people staying there to protect the funds, equipment, and projects," he said.

"When the situation is basically stable and the climate is possible for peace-building, we will return to those projects," said the minister.

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