Extending Beijing’s Commercial Reach

By William Heidlage

William Heidlage is a Research Director at BowerGroupAsia, where he analyzes the impact of politics in Northeast Asia on the commercial environment.

On Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Iran, the last stop on a whirlwind tour of the Middle East, which included visits to Egypt and Saudi Arabia as well. There, Xi upgraded the two countries’ relations to a strategic partnership and signed an agreement to increase bilateral trade by $600 billion, the latest development in China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.

Last week, President Xi traveled to Riyadh, where he promoted expanding cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia in energy and security, and jump-started the growing partnership by signing a $1.5 billion deal between the oil giants Sinopec and Saudi Aramco. In Cairo, President Xi signed loans worth $1.7 billion to bail out the tumultuous nation’s banks and announced investments to shore up Egypt’s infrastructure.

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