Saudi Arabia Announces $10B Deals at China-Arab Business Summit

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The Facts

  • Investment deals worth $10B were signed between China and Arab countries on the first day of the 10th Arab-China Business Conference, which kicked off in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Sunday, according to the Saudi Ministry of Investment.

  • A deal between Saudi Arabia and Chinese electric carmaker Human Horizons to cooperate on vehicle development, production, and sales valued at $5.6B accounts for more than half of the investments, according to the state-run Saudi News Agency.


The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

It would be too simplistic to interpret the Sino-Arab business summit as yet another indication that the Arab world is increasingly pivoting toward China at the expense of the US. Blinken recently succeeded in putting US ties with Riyadh back on a solid footing, despite China and disagreements over Syria and Russia. And while Saudi-Chinese trade volumes may continue to rise, Saudi investment in the US is increasing. China is emerging as a significant regional player, but Washington is rising to the challenge and will remain an influential actor — including in the security domain.

Establishment-critical narrative

The PRC-Arab business event once again underscores how the region, especially Saudi Arabia, is no longer letting Washington dictate the economic path it should take. The increasing shift away from the US and toward China, in addition to a growing China-Arab trade volume, was recently reflected in the readmission of Syria to the Arab League and the Beijing-brokered rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Also, Blinken's Saudi trip could not hide the West's mounting economic woes, and Saudi Arabia is well advised to seek strategic independence from Washington.


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