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Shining Pearl of China-Egypt Cooperation

  A modern industry city that simulates the investment environment of TEDA is shining its vibrancy at the Red Sea Coast. That is China-Egypt TEDA Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, which is a magical land that concluded the friendship between China and Egypt and is a shinning pearl brought by the China-Egypt Cooperation.

  The origin of the zone can be traced back to 1994. In the state visit to China, the then Egyptian President Mubarak was surprised at China’s reform and opening up, especially the rapid development of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, and therefore proposed to the Chinese government for expecting China to help Egypt to build a development zone. In October 1994 and May 1996 when then Chinese Vice Premier Zhu Rongji and then Chinese President Jiang Zemin paid state visits to Egypt respectively, they expressed that a land may be planned out in Suez Area for use of China and China may help them build a free trade area. One year later, the vision was further pushed to reality. In April 1997, the then Egyptian Premier Ganzouri and the then Chinese Premier Li Peng signed a memorandum of understanding on the issues related to the establishment of Suez Free Trade Area in Egypt. The two sides agreed that China will cooperate with Egypt in providing experience in the construction of SEZone, and Chinese enterprises are encouraged to cooperate with Egypt in building of economic zones and others. China and Egypt started the cooperation and construction of the economic zone. In 1998, TEDA began to embark on the historical stage of China-Egypt Economic Zone. At the beginning of 1998, the State Council of China formally decided that TEDA will help Egypt to build the Suez Northwest Economic Zone on behalf of China.

  TEDA, as a China’s state-level development zone, has been the world’s attention for its amazing pace of development since its construction in 1984. The Suez Economic Zone undertaken by TEDA has also served as the bridge for economic development and cooperation between the two countries. In April 1999, when the Egyptian President Mubarak visited China, he paid a special visit to TEDA, and expressed that the Suez Zone is very important for Egypt, the involvement of TEDA brings glory to them and China is expected to contribute more to the cooperation of Suez Zone. Then, the two sides exchanges views more frequently. TEDA appointed experts to provide consultancy services for the development and construction of Northwest Economic Zone of Gulf of Suez. Upon the invitations of the Egyptian government, the Chinese side has organized a number of training for relevant officials of Egyptian Suez Zone in China.

  At the Beijing Summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in November 2006, the then Chinese President Hu Jintao put forward eight economic measures to support Africa’s development. One of the important contents was that 3 to 5 overseas economic and trade cooperation zones would be established in African countries. In order to better complete the construction of the Suez Project and fulfill the commitment of the Chinese government to help Egypt to build an economic zone, Tianjin TEDA Investment Co., Ltd., as a party that have engaged in the construction of Northwest Economic Zone of Gulf of Suez for years, participated in the bidding competition of second batch of overseas economic and trade cooperation zones of the Ministry of Commerce in August 2007 and won the bid in November of the same year.

  Thus, China-Egypt TEDA Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone also entered the fast lane of construction and operation, and also won the attentions of the bilateral governments and senior leaders.

  In December 2008, when Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang visited Egypt, he spoke highly of the cooperation zone, and praised that the cooperation zone is a bridgehead for China-Africa Cooperation and will be built as the mode for China-Arab and China-Egypt cooperation. On November 7, 2009, then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and the Egyptian Premier Nazif unveiled the nameplate for China-Egypt TEDA Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone. This is the first officially launched cooperation zones after Chinese President Hu Jintao proposed to build 3 to 5 economic and trade cooperation zones in Africa with three years at the 2016 Beijing Summit of China-Africa Cooperation Forum. It honored the solemn commitment of the Chinese government. On March 21, 2012, in welcoming the Egyptian Foreign Minister Amrou, the Chinese President Xi Jinping said, “Chinese enterprises are encouraged to invest in Egypt and promote the building of Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone.” On August 28, 2012 when the then Egyptian President Moore visited China, then Chinese President Hu Jintao held talks with Muhammad Morsi at the Great Hall of the People and promised to “steadily push forward the construction of Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone and other projects.” During the BRIC Summit in March 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping met the then Egyptian President Morsi, and expressed to well cooperate to build the Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone.

  On August 28, 2012, Egyptian President Morsi led a delegation of about 80 entrepreneurs to visit China. During his visit to China, Morsi personally met with Liu Aimin, President of Egypt TEDA Investment Company. Subsequently, the Minister of Investment and Minister of Trade and Industry in Egypt mentioned the cooperation zone for several times when meeting with relevant Chinese authorities, and regarded the cooperation zone the key project of bilateral economic and trade cooperation zone. They hope to make most of the cooperation zone as a platform for subsequent development and attract more Chinese enterprises to invest in Egypt. The then Egyptian Prime Minister personally intervened and urged the negotiation progress of the Six KM2 Project and promoted the signature of contract for Six KM2 Expansion Area of the cooperation zone. On April 27, 2013, when witnessing the signing ceremony of the Cooperation Zone, the then Egyptian Premier Qandil praised the Six KM2 Expansion Area Project of China-Egypt TEDA Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone as the place where a dream is started and inscribed “the bridge for China-Egypt Cooperation”.

  After the establishment of the new government in Egypt, the Cooperation Zone was more highly valued by the leaders of China and Egypt.

  In December 2014, at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Egyptian President Sisi paid a state visit to China. On the 23rd, Xi Jinping and Sisi jointly decided to elevate China-Egypt relations as a comprehensive strategic partnership. Sisi said that the proposal by President Xi Jinping to build the Belt and Road provided an important opportunity for the revival of Egypt, and the Egyptian side was willing to actively participate and support it. Egypt hopes to cooperate with China to develop projects such as the Suez Canal Corridor and the China-Egypt TEDA Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone to attract Chinese enterprises to invest in Egypt. On the 24th, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Egyptian President Sisi. Li Keqiang pointed out that the as the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China highly coincide with national development strategy being planned by Egypt, China is willing to actively participate in the construction of major projects in Egypt and promote the construction of the China-Egypt TEDA Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone.

  In January 2016, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Egypt. In order to fully implement the strategic partnership between the two countries and translate into more concrete actions, China and Egypt jointly issued a five-year implementation plan for strengthening the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, where the "Development of China-Egypt TEDA Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone” was firstly written into the plan. During this period, President Xi Jinping and President Sisi attended the opening ceremony of Expansion Area, Cooperation Zone and unveiled the nameplate for the Expansion Area; in his important speech at headquarters of the Arab League, President Xi Jinping twice mentioned the cooperation zone.

  During President Xi’s visit to Egypt, Gao Hucheng, Minister of Commerce and Darwish, the President of SCZone General Authority on behalf of the two countries signed on the Agreement of Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and SCZone General Authority of the Arab Republic of Egypt on Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone. According to the agreement, the two sides will jointly support and facilitate the construction, investment and operation of the China-Egypt TEDA Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone and further establish the legal status of the cooperative zone, which will promote the further development of the cooperation zone and create an important platform for production cooperation between China and Egypt.

  With the implementation of the Belt and Road Strategy of China and acceleration of the development of the "Suez Canal Corridor" in Egypt, China and Egypt will share more new points in terms of strategic objectives and development concepts. The development of Sino-Egyptian relations will also facilitate new growth. Point and focus. The China-Egypt TEDA Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone at the strategic cohesion of national strategies will open up a great deal of cooperation opportunities in the fields of economy, trade and culture between China and Egypt by making most of the moment when the national leaders unveiled the nameplate for the Expansion Area.

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