China, Arab States to promote tech transfer

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YINCHUAN, (Xinhua) — A trade exhibition brought together Chinese and Arab leaders in science, technology, and industry this week to cooperate on the transfer of technology.

During the China-Arab States Expo, which concluded Sunday, China established “a technology transfer center” in its northwestern Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region to “facilitate collaborative innovation” with Arab countries.

A total of 11 bilateral agreements were signed during the expo for the transfer of satellite, telecommunications and agricultural technologies. Cooperation in other fields is under discussion.

A website for the tech transfer center has been launched, and a database of experts and enterprises is under construction. A new building for the center will break ground in 2016 in Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia.

Wan Gang, Minster of Science and Technology, said China is willing to share its technological achievements in agriculture, energy, transportation, telecommunications, natural resources, environment, health and satellite navigation with Arab countries.

China and the Arab States will jointly establish national laboratories, and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) will provide funding, equipment and staff to the labs, said Wan.

MOST will invite more Arab scientists to conduct research in China, and Chinese enterprises will tailor their technological services to meet the demands of the Middle East.

In addition, China will share its experience in industrial park construction to improve production capacity cooperation, according to Wan.

At a technology exhibition in Yinchuan, shiny miniatures of carrier rockets and bullet trains caught the attention of crowds of visitors from Arab countries, who came to explore business opportunities at the biennial expo, which ran from Thursday to Sunday.

Jamila El Mossalli, representative for the Moroccan minister of education and science, said her country hopes to receive more help from China, as most developed countries are secretive about their technological achievements.

Sharif Hamad, Egyptian Minister of Scientific Research, spoke highly of the technology exhibition and expressed hopes for cooperation.

“We have defined very complete steps to build technological transfer offices,” said Hamad, adding that the offices will be a place to share scientific knowledge and convert ideas into real products.

Yin Liming, CEO of China Great Wall Industry Corporation, a national satellite service provider, said tapping the Arab market is a “new and important direction.”

Yin said Chinese companies have advanced aerospace technology with relatively low prices, and Arab regions need satellite services, making them a perfect match.

“China Great Wall Industry Corporation is working with some Arab countries on research, testing and launching of satellites,” said Yin.

Liang Jianying, chief engineer of the CRRC Sifang Co. Ltd., a leading bullet train maker in China, is also trying to grab a share of the lucrative rail market in the Middle East and North Africa.

She told a room full of foreign officials and purchasers on the sidelines of the expo that Chinese high-speed trains can safely operate in the extreme weather conditions of the Arab world.

“China and the Arab States are good friends with mutual trust, as well as good partners in seeking common prosperity,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping in a congratulatory letter to the expo.

In 2013, Xi proposed building a Silk Road Economic Belt to revitalize the ancient trade route and find new growth engines amid the economic slowdown. Xi said the Arab States have been responding actively to his initiative.

“China will uphold the Silk Road Spirit, as well as learn and cooperate in a peaceful, open and inclusive manner […] with the Arab States,” said the president.

Trade between China and the Arab States exploded from 10 million U.S. dollars in 1950s to 251.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2014, making China the second-largest trade partner of the Arab States. The two sides aim to increase trade volume to 600 billion U.S. dollars in the next ten years.

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