Saudi Arabia inks $28 billion in deals with China
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman completed his rare four-day Asia tour with a visit to China.
Saudi Arabia and China signed 35 agreements worth $28 billion, including deals in shipping, energy, and politics, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
This is an interesting time for both countries. Saudi Arabia as part of its Vision 2030 is looking to diversify away from oil while China, the kingdom’s biggest trading partner, is looking to quickly push forward on its Belt and Road Initiative.
“The Silk Road initiative and China’s strategic orientation are very much in line with the kingdom’s Vision 2030,” said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to Saudi’s state news agency SPA.
Bilateral trade between the countries increased 32 percent last year, the crown prince said in a statement.
$10 billion refinery deal
The world’s largest exporter of crude oil also pledged $10 billion in a joint venture with China to develop a refining and petrochemical complex in the city of Panjin in China’s northeast. The refinery is expected to produce up to 300,000 barrels of oil per day when it is operational.
China North Industries Corporation (Norinco), Panjin Sincen, and Saudi’s Aramco agreed to create the complex, which is expected to start commercial operation in 2024.
Aramco will hold 35 percent stake in the joint venture called Huajin Aramco Petrochemical Co. Ltd., while Norinco and Panjin Sincen will hold 36 percent and 29 percent respectively. Saudi’s Aramco will also supply 70 percent of the crude feedstock for the complex, a Reuters report indicates.
Additionally, Aramco signed an agreement to take a 9 percent stake in Zhejiang Petrochemical, refinery and petrochemicals complex in China, according to the SPA.
Saudi Arabia and China also signed maritime agreements to enhance the maritime transport industry. The agreements will include maritime studies, specialized training, and scholarships for Saudi maritime cadres It will also enhance the transfer of technology between maritime transport bodies and institutions of both countries, a report by Arab News stated.