by Salah Takieddine
BEIRUT, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Lebanese businessmen who have participated in the China-Arab States Expo in the northwestern Chinese city of Yinchuan expressed hopes that this event could produce positive results for the Lebanese economy.
"The participation in the expo was very important for us and hope that we would have an important cooperation with the Chinese," Lebanese former Finance Minister Raya al-Hassan told Xinhua, revealing that two agreements related to the Special Economic Zone for Tripoli have been signed with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Yinchuan Technology Zone.
Al-Hassan, who is also the head of Tripoli Special Economic Zone Authority, hailed the expo as an opportunity for Lebanon to exhibit its manufactures and know the needs of the Chinese market.
"We are interested in attracting the Chinese investments to Tripoli. Chinese companies are visiting Tripoli and show their interest in reactivating the Silk Road and it is a matter of great importance for both countries and has a definite positive effect on Lebanon," she said.
According to the Lebanese business official, Lebanon's exports to China total about 6 million U.S. dollars while the country imports 2 million dollars' worth of products from China.
"After our participation, we discovered that we can include in our exports that China needs, such as olive oil and wine," she explained.
A number of Lebanese commercial and industrial companies participated in the expo and had a distinctive presence
Amir Hassoun, head of the development and marketing department in the Khan al Saboun factory of Badr Hassoun in Tripoli, said China has facilitated "investments for the Lebanese businessmen and industrialists."
"We exhibited our products in the expo and found an interesting acceptance," Hassoun said. "We exhibited about 1,400 kinds of soap products."
During the expo, Lebanese Minister of Economy and Trade Raed Khouri, who is also the head of the country's delegation to the expo, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Chinese government to promote economic cooperation between the two countries under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.
According to the MoU, the two countries agreed to work together to achieve common development, and enhance both political and economic ties.
The four-day event was inaugurated on Sept. 6, with the participation of 43 ministers and high-ranking officials from Arab countries and 117 representatives from commerce chambers in China and Arab countries.