Saleh encourages Chinese businessmen to invest in Yemen [Archives:2006/936/Front Page]

April 10 2006

Mohamed Bin Sallam
SANA'A, April 9 ) Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh left China after a six-day visit, during which he encouraged Chinese businessmen to invest in Yemen, assuring that his government is ready to grant free lands to investors with capital exceeding $10 million. With his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, Saleh discussed close ties, cooperation and economic and trade partnership between the two countries.

Both leaders discussed regional and international developments, particularly those in the Middle East, including situations in Palestine, Iraq and Somalia, terrorism fighting efforts and means for activating the United Nations' role. Discussion laid more emphasis on enhancing dialogue between civilizations and cultures to improve world peace and understanding between nations.

Praising China's ties with Yemen, Jintao said, “Trade cooperation between our two countries began in the sixth century through trade of silk products and by the advent of the 15th century, a Chinese trotter from the Royal Clan reached Aden five times in his navy. After the People's Republic of China was established, Yemen was among the first countries to establish relations with the new state. For approximately half a century, Yemeni-Chinese relations resisted international changes and developed.

“Over the past few years, trade exchange between our countries has increased at different levels, whether in areas of economic cooperation or in energy, yielding fruitful results. Both countries have close relations in political, military and cultural areas and often are present in international conferences,” the Chinese leader added.

He pointed out that his government exempted Yemeni exports to China from customs tariffs, supported trade exchange between the two friendly countries and consolidated cooperation in oil and energy exploration. He mentioned that concerned parties in his government agreed with Yemen to fund many projects.

Saleh stated, “We highly value China's stance with Yemen's revolution and unity. We are satisfied with the growing relations between Yemen and China, particularly in trade areas, as the trade balance between both countries exceeded $3.4 billion.”

Saleh called on rich nations to help those suffering vulnerable economies to overcome poverty issues and development challenges.

“Poverty is a big problem, since it causes the spread of extremism and terrorism. Combating poverty serves terrorism fighting efforts and enhances security and peace efforts worldwide. By eradicating unemployment among youths, citizens will live in peace,” Saleh added. He confirmed Yemen's commitment to join the international community in fighting terrorism and boosting the spirit of moderation.

Saleh declared his nation's support for Chinese unity and hailed Chinese investments in Yemen, whether in oil and minerals or industry. He assured that such investments will be supported and facilitated, pointing out that establishing Chinese industries in Yemen will be a focal point for improving industries in the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.

According to Saleh, China has open and distinctive moves to help the country develop economically. He noted that Yemen and China signed 18 agreements during his visit, in addition to numerous agreements with Yemeni businessmen.

Both leaders signed agreements in areas of telecommunication, information technology and post, as well as economic and technical cooperation. China agreed to offer Yemen $5 million in assistance and grant it an interest-free loan totaling $5 million. They signed another agreement, in which China gave Yemen a $25 million easy loan at only two percent interest.

Saleh and Jintao discussed their countries' admission to the World Trade Organization and signed a memorandum of understanding, whereby China gave Yemen $1 billion to fund development and productive projects.

While touring Hong Kong Island and meeting Chinese businessmen and company chairpersons, Saleh declared that any investment with capital exceeding $10 million will obtain land for free.

“We hail Chinese investments, mainly in Aden Free Zone, and we are ready to boost, facilitate and guarantee them. We will give investors lands to establish their projects at low prices and any project with capital of more than $10 million will receive land for free,” Saleh said. “Yemen has many islands in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean that can be utilized for industrial and tourist investments.

“We observed great development on Hong Kong Island, despite British presence for 99 years. This island was built by its natives. Similarly, Yemen suffered British presence for 130 years,” Saleh continued.

In related news, an Interior Ministry source earlier this week denied the authenticity of an Al-Shoura Net report stating that Yemen made a deal to purchase armored vehicles and anti-riot cudgels from China.

In a statement to Saba News Agency, the same source confirmed that such news is not authentic and is out of place, advising the media to check the authenticity of what they publish and not exploit freedom of expression to publish fabricated stories.