China-Qatar relations get a boost
March 13 2013 12:23 AM
Youzhen addressing students at Qatar University.
Youzhen addressing students at Qatar University.

By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter

The Chinese envoy in Doha has hailed the rapid economic growth and comprehensive development achieved by his country and Qatar.
Speaking on China-Qatar relations at Qatar University yesterday, ambassador Gao Youzhen said the two countries signed various agreements on trade, investment, aviation transport and the establishment of the China-Qatar Investment Co-operation Committee.
He said Chinese-funded enterprises played a key role in building the Doha Lusail City, Metro Airport, new port, port supporting facilities and the West Bay Area Ferris real estate.
Two of the biggest Chinese companies operating in Qatar included China State Construction Engineering Corp, which built the Doha Tower, and the China Harbor Engineering Corp, which built the New Doha Port.
Youzhen disclosed that last year investments (bilateral trade volume) totalled $8.45bn.
“China-Qatar project contracting accumulated about $10bn, the new contract amounts $441mn this year,” he said.
The ambassador believes that “high-level visits” of top Chinese and Qatari officials in 2012 have spurred more economic co-operation.
Citing the historic Silk Road and the cultural ties that existed for hundreds of years, he said that China had long-standing relations with the Arab world.
China brings textiles, construction materials, electronic machines, furniture and products of daily use to Qatar while the latter exports oil and gas.
Some of the Qatari projects in China included banks which have continuously branching out in different areas.  
“China and Qatar fully exploit the complementary potential for fruitful co-operation in the energy, infrastructure construction and other fields,” he said.
He disclosed that the Shanghai High School campuses will be established in Doha next year. The strategic co-operation memorandum was signed in 2012 by both countries.
China has also offered scholarships to Qatari students who want to pursue college and post-graduate studies.
In a separate interview, Youzhen told Gulf Times that Chinese school officials (mostly head of universities) would visit Qatar University next month.
Cultural exchanges have also flourished with the annual celebration of the ‘Joy Spring Festival’ in Qatar. It has become a well-known cultural brand in China and Qatar.
In sports, top table tennis players joined the prestigious Qatar Open which is being held every year in Doha.
China, the world’s second strongest economy, also plans to prioritise developing infrastructure and social programmes in rural areas.   
“China should follow more closely the rules of the market and better play the role of the government,” he said.
The country also considers combating corruption as a clear-cut and long-term political commitment of the Communist Party.
Youzhen, a fluent Arabic speaker, learned Arabic during his first posting in Yemen. Then he went to Algeria, Egypt, Oman, again back to Yemen. His last foreign posting was in Dubai before coming to Doha.  
He also served at various times in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of West Asia and North Africa Affairs.

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