BEIJING, Jan. 18 (Xinhuanet) -- Arab countries have become the major source of China's oil imports, the Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday.
In the first 11 months of 2005, China imported 50.52 million tons of crude oil from Arab countries, accounting for 44 percent of China's total oil imports, the ministry said.
The overall bilateral trade volume between China and Arab countries totaled 46.38 billion U.S. dollars, up 39 percent year on year. China's exports to Arab countries were 21.44 billion dollars, up 36 percent, and imports were 24.94 billion dollars, up46 percent.
Arab countries have become China's eighth largest trade partnerand the seventh largest market for China's exports and imports respectively. The ratio of high-tech products in bilateral trade has been increasing, the ministry said.
China's direct investment in Arab countries totaled 390 millionU.S. dollars, and Arab countries funded 1,067 projects in China, involving total contractual value of 1.52 billion dollars.
China and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf are negotiating matters on building a free trade area. The two sides expect to sign an agreement by the end of 2006, the ministry said. Enditem