Interview: Belt and Road Initiative brings opportunities to Tunisia: official

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-08 19:25:44|Editor: Xiang Bo
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TUNIS, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese investment will bring prosperity and opportunities to Tunisia within China's proposed Belt and Road Initiative, president of the Tunisian Investment Authority Khalil Laabidi told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"Tunisia is along the Belt and Road routes and is willing to become a major player in the initiative," Laabidi said, "Tunisia supports and closely follows this initiative. We should never miss such a great opportunity."

Laabidi pointed out China boasts well-developed industries and has foresight in economic policies, enabling it to successfully enter markets around the world.

"Aeronautical and automobile industries remain two key sectors and play important role in Tunisian economy, which will start on renewable energy sector in 2018 in order to attract more investors," Laabidi said.

Laabidi said Tunisia welcomes more Chinese investors to come here and implement more projects. He said Tunisia has great interest in promoting bilateral economic and trade cooperation with China and this is a win-win approach within the Belt and Road Initiative.

Proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative, or the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa, along the ancient Silk Road trade routes to seek common development and prosperity.

Since the initiative was proposed, more than 100 countries and international organizations have showed support and actively participated in its construction.

Trade volume between China and Belt and Road countries in 2016 topped 1.07 trillion U.S. dollars, as China's direct investment in those countries stood at 14.5 billion dollars.

Statistics showed that Chinese companies' total investment and acquisition in Belt and Road countries already exceeded 33 billion dollars as of early August.

Tunisia lies at the north point of the African continent, closely near Europe.

"Tunisia could be a link among China, Africa and Europe, providing bridges and springboards for Chinese entrepreneurs to explore markets in both Africa and Europe," Laabidi added.

"Tunisia ranks as the world's leading exporter of dates and among the top three for olive oil," Laabidi said, "Tunisian products with good quality are not well known in China yet and both sides will make efforts to provide more access to Chinese markets."

KEY WORDS: Belt and Road