(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The China's ambassador to Qatar, Li Chen, said yesterday that the number of Chinese tourists who visited Doha in 2017 reached nearly 45,000, an increase of 26% compared to the previous year, while the volume of trade between the two countries reached about QR10bn last year, rising by 35% compared to the year before.
The ambassador was speaking at a press conference, held as part of the preparations of the Chinese embassy in Doha to celebrate the 30 anniversary of the establishment of the Qatari-Chinese relations next Wednesday.
Chen attributed the rise in tourists to efforts made by the Qatar Tourism Authority to attract tourists, opening of representative offices in China and exemption in pre-entry visa for Chinese.
The ambassador praised the economic reforms and investment laws adopted by Qatar recently, including allowing full foreign ownership in many sectors, and other measures that contribute to enhancing the flow of investments and increasing the volume of trade between the two countries.
He noted that China is Qatar's fourth largest trading partner and is the world's second-largest importer of the Qatari LNG, affirming that co-operation between the two countries in the field of energy is proceeding normally and Qatar is a reliable supplier of energy worldwide.
He ruled out any impact of the Gulf crisis on trade relations between the two countries, explaining that there is a growing interest from Chinese companies and banks to create opportunities in the Qatari market, to join more than 20 major Chinese companies already operating in Qatar.
Ambassador Chen said that the Chinese embassy will organise events for two days to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Qatari-Chinese relations, which falls on July 9. The activities include a ceremony on Wednesday, followed by a cultural activity for a Chinese band in Katara on Thursday.
He underlined that the Qatari-Chinese relations, which were established in 1988, have become more mature and stronger, and achieved many interests for both sides, noting that the co-operation between the two countries has enabled the two sides to enter a new stage of integration and promote common benefits in the fields of economy, culture, tourism and other fields that will lead the relationship
towards a promising future.
The ambassador highlighted the historic relations between the two friendly peoples, which date back to 1,300 years, since the Chinese voyages came to the Arabian Peninsula, noting that these relations developed with the establishment of the diplomatic relations in 1988 to enter a new stage of
development on all levels.
He praised the security co-operation between the two countries and their association with a joint agreement to strengthen security and fight terrorism, and the mutual understanding, trust and political support in the international forums.
'The levels and areas of co-operation between the two countries are increasing and becoming stronger by years, noting the co-operation between Qatar and China in construction of a power plant in Pakistan with investments
estimated at $2bn.
The Chinese ambassador hailed Qatar's support to China's Belt and Road Initiative, as an important contributor to the initiative and a founding member of its main financier, the Asian Investment Bank, stressing that the initiative will play a major role in strengthening
the relations further.
On his country's position on the siege imposed on Qatar, the ambassador said that China had announced its support for the Kuwaiti mediation and dialogue between all brotherly countries, stressing that Beijing, which has good relations with all parties, is keen on ending the crisisbetween the Gulf brothers.
'Qatar has dealt with the crisis with self-restraint and balanced way, and avoided escalation and tension and expressed willingness to resolve the crisis through dialogue, praising in this context the decisions adopted by Doha to address the shortage of food commodities, especially in the early days of the crisis. (QNA)