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China-Syria Economic Cooperation to Blossom
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The Syrian government has officially recognized China's market economy status during the meetings of the Third Sino-Syrian Joint Committee in Damascus on Tuesday and the two countries now stand ready to deepen bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

During a signing ceremony at the Syrian Ministry of Economy and Trade, visiting Chinese Assistant Minister of Commerce Chen Jian and Syrian Deputy Minister of Economy and Trade Ghassan Habash signed six cooperation agreements.

Describing the results of the committee, Chen said that there was satisfaction all round at the level of economic and trade cooperation over the past three years during which bilateral trade volume reached nearly US$1.5 billion in 2006, doubling 2004 totals. He added that both sides estimated the volume would reach US$3 billion within five years.

In officially recognizing China's market economy status, Syria becomes the 74th country to do so, revealed the Ministry of Commerce. 

"The recognition indicated that both Syria and China would develop bilateral economic and trade relations in accordance with the World Trade Organization standards, which is bound to have a positive impact on future economic cooperation between the two countries," Chen said.  "Syria is an important Arab country and the Chinese government attaches great importance to developing trade and economic cooperation with it," noted Chen. 

Meanwhile, Chen also highlighted the current economic and trade momentum between China and Arab countries, saying that it has given rise to a mature operation mechanism. 

He said the prospect of free trade zones between China and some Arab countries was being discussed, following the existing win-win model of bilateral trade.

On Monday, Chen Jian held talks with Syrian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdullah al-Dardari and Minister of Economy and Trade Amer Husni Lutfi. 

The talks covered a wide area, reviewing bilateral cooperation in various fields, especially in terms of industry, information, petrochemical, food, textile and construction of power plants. 

Future partnership avenues were also on the agenda, relating to telecommunications, water and sewage treatment, infrastructure construction, joint-venture banks, and the creation of joint universities and research centers.

(Xinhua News Agency June 27, 2007)

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