Syria would welcome more Chinese investment in energy, electricity, infrastructure and tourism, visiting Syrian Deputy Premier for Economic Affairs Abdullah al-Dardari said in Beijing on Monday.
"Syria can offer Chinese companies a lot of investment opportunities because the government is working hard to build a good environment for foreign investment -- safe, equal, transparent, and buttressed by a sound legal framework," said Dardari at the first meeting of the Syria-China Joint Business Council, which brought together 100-odd businessmen from China and Syria.
To boost Syria-China economic ties, Dardari proposed a China Industrial zone and a China Telecom Park to be built in Syria. He also encouraged Chinese companies to take part in the construction of power stations and establish joint ventures with Syrian companies in the transport, real estate and construction areas.
Sufian Allaw, Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources of Syria, who also attended the meeting, said that Syria needs Chinese investment especially for oil exploration and the installation of natural gas pipelines because Syria has recently discovered new oil fields.
For Syria, it is urgent to get Chinese companies involved in the buildup of the power industry because the country is facing a lack of about 600-megawatt electricity per year, Allaw added.
Responding to the Syrian guests' proposals, Yu Ping, vice president of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said the Chinese government will continue to push forward bilateral trade and economic relations and cooperation with Syria.
Trade between China and Syria surged 55 percent to US$1.4 billion in 2006 from 2005. By the end of 2006, Chinese companies had signed project contracts worth US$819 million.
Describing the current volume of Syrian exports to China as "tiny," Bashar Nouri, President of the Syrian side of the Syria-China Joint Business Council, invited more Chinese investors to Syria to "learn more about the business environment," because many Syrian businessmen want to learn from the successful experience of Chinese companies.
The Syria-China Joint Business Council, initiated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during his first state visit to China in 2004, consists of leading companies from the two countries in sectors such as energy, real estate, tourism, medical, automobiles, textiles, power, telecoms, food and chemicals.
On Monday State Councilor Hua Jianmin also held talks with Dardari.
(Xinhua News Agency July 10, 2007)