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French Version

China-Arab Business Conference concludes Joint car assembly plant initiated

A Chinese firm Hebei Zhongxing Automobile and a Jordanian company Ayass Motors signed on Tuesday an agreement to set up the first private car assembly and manufacturing plant in Jordan, with a starting capital of $30 million.

Under the deal, the plant will begin operating in 2008, with initial production capacity of 6,250 vehicles, Ayass Motors Manager Mazen Ayass said at a signing ceremony in Amman.

Annual production of four- and two-wheel-drive vehicles as well as pickups will rise to 12,000 and then to 24,000, targeting Arab and East European markets, Ayass added. The joint venture hopes to manufacture sedans and salons at a later stage.

“Around 25 percent of car parts will be manufactured in Jordan, which will positively reflect on local industries,” he said.

The plant, to be set up in Umm Rasas, south of Amman, will increase its capital to $50 million by the end of the project’s fifth year, and later raise it to $230 million, Ayass said.
Jordan Investment Board’s Director General, Maan Nsur, expects the venture to create more than 17,000 jobs.

Zhongxing Automobile general manager Robert Chi Yu described the project as “a milestone for cooperation” between the two sides.

According to the Zhongxing Web site, the Chinese company is a “pioneer in pickup truck exports as well as manufacturing” and aims to become “the first Chinese automaker to sell automobiles in the United States” later this year.

The deal was sealed on the sidelines of a two-day conference in Jordan to mull ways of bolstering trade between Chinese businessmen and their Jordanian counterparts.

The second China-Arab Business Conference concluded in Amman on Tuesday, during which the officials and entrepreneurs discussed bilateral cooperation, vowing to further enhance cooperation in the fields of economy, trade and investment.

In the “Amman Document” launched at the end of the conference, the participants agreed to enhance economic cooperation on the basis of mutual respect.

They also stressed the importance to promote the promising investment markets available for both sides, calling to organize commercial, industrial and agricultural exhibitions in addition to investment forums.

Arab Business Council Chairman Hamdi Tabbaa, who is also president of the Jordan Businessmen Association, praised the high China-Arab trade volume which exceeded $65 billion in 2006, up 78 percent from 2004.

Last year, China’s exports to the Arab countries reached $31 billion, while imports amounted to $34 billion, according to official statistics.

Tabbaa also expressed appreciation of the latest Chinese projects launched in Jordan including the Haier assembly plant which produces and exports electrical appliances to Africa, the European Union and the United-States.

Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee Luo Haocai said the Arab countries are important partners of China in economic fields and bilateral cooperation has broad prospects.

China is keen to promote understanding and bilateral trade relations between the Arab world and China, Tabbaa added.

During the conference, agreements were signed between China and Arab countries, focusing on trade, culture, education and tourism cooperation.

“There is enormous potential to expand trade exchanges and investment flows as we develop further new areas of cooperation and move towards a completely new dimension of prosperity”, said President of the Council of the General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for Arab Countries, Adnan Kassar, adding that it is time to explore the potential by seeking a long-term cooperation between the two sides.

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