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Trade with Arab Bloc Set to Grow
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China aims to increase trade with Arab nations to US$100 billion in 2010.


State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan yesterday said the growth in trade would be achieved "by facilitating the free flow of goods, capital, technology and services."


Speaking at the second ministerial meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum, which began in Beijing yesterday, Tang said: "It is advisable to increase dialogue about energy and establish a long-term and stable relationship based on mutual benefit in our effort to maintain stability in the global energy market."


The volume of trade between China and the 22 Arab states taking part in the forum reached US$51.3 billion last year 10 times what it was 10 years ago according to Foreign Ministry statistics.


Foreign ministers and representatives of the 22 states and Arab League Secretary General Amre Moussa convened in Beijing for the two-day conference to discuss cooperation with China in politics, economics and international affairs.


Moussa said he appreciated China's support for Arab countries in their efforts to seek peace and development, and suggested "China and Arab states relationship should go further to becoming strategic partners."


He called for more cooperation projects to be launched in fields such as media, economy, culture and international affairs under the China-Arab Cooperation Forum.


The forum was founded in January 2004, when President Hu Jintao's visited the headquarters of the Arab League in Egypt and agreed to set up a mechanism to promote China-Arab cooperation.


China will, as always, stand for the settlement of the Middle East issue through negotiation on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions and the principle of land for peace, Tang told the delegates.


"We also support the Arab countries' peace initiatives for settling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," he added.


Before the opening ceremony President Hu Jintao met the heads of the Arab delegations.


He proposed to intensify political, economic and cultural cooperation between China and the Arab nations as well as coordination in international affairs.


(China Daily June 1, 2006)

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