Sunday, October 1, 2017

China eyes Syria rebuild

By Bai Tiantian

Global Times - 2017/9/24

After seeing the growing progress in Syria's peace process, Chinese entrepreneurs are showing greater interest in the country's reconstruction, despite the obstacles.  Since this past April, at least 30 Chinese have traveled to Syria looking for investment opportunities in the war-torn country, entering it from Lebanon. Their visit took them to Damascus and Homs where they were greeted by Syrian ministers and governors and could sit down and discuss possible projects.  Qin Yong, vice president of the Beijing-based non-profit China-Arab Exchange Association who visited Syria three times on business this year, told the Global Times that most of the Chinese entrepreneurs come from the private sector, including import-export goods, food, power equipment and construction.  "So far the Syrian government has controlled two-thirds of the country," Qin said. "Reconstruction already started in 2015 as the government battled opposition forces and the Islamic State on one front and began restoring infrastructure in safer areas. But while Russian and Iranian companies were already part of the reconstruction effort, Chinese enterprises had their doubts."  Qin went on to say, "Many had concerns before arriving in Syria but their impressions of the country were reversed by the end of the tour," then noted that a growing number of Chinese businesspeople are showing interest.