The China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF)


Updated on May 2016

What is the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF)?

  • CASCF is a formal dialogue initiative between China and the Arab League (AL), which has currently 21 members[1].
  • It was established in 2004 during a visit of the then-Chinese President, Hu Jintao, to the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo, Egypt.

[1] Syria, which was the 22nd member, is suspended from the AL since 2011, “due to its government’s brutal way of dealing with political opponents” (Arab League Online, 2012).

Mission and Principles

  • CASCF aims to promote cooperation in various fields, such as politics, trade, culture, technology, foreign affairs, as well as to advance peace and development through friendly exchanges.


  • On the establishment of the forum, Hu Jintao, proposed four principles to guide the new era of China-Arab interactions:

(i) Establish political relations based on mutual respect;

(ii) Foster economic and trade exchanges to accomplish common development aims;

(iii) Learn from one another via cultural exchanges;

(iv) Promote world peace and common development by cooperating in international affairs.

Fonte:  (Xinhua, 2016); (Kuangyi, 2014)

The Arab League Countries

  1. Algeria
  2. Bahrain
  3. Comoros
  4. Djibouti
  5. Egypt
  6. Iraq
  7. Jordan
  8. Kuwait
  9. Lebanon
  10. Libya
  11. Mauritania
  12. Morocco
  13. Oman
  14. Palestine[1]
  15. Qatar
  16. Saudi Arabia
  17. Somalia
  18. Sudan
  19. Tunisia
  20. United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  21. Yemen

[1] The Minister of Foreign Affairs of China has already stated the Chinese support of the Palestinian right to form an independent State (China Daily, 2014). This political course aligns China with the Arab League’s claims for the recognition of Palestine as a formal country.


  • Ministerial Meeting: A permanent mechanism which reunites every two years the secretary general of the AL and the foreign ministers of China and all the League’s members, rotating the location of the meeting every year between China and an Arab state. These meetings concern regional and international matters of common interest , particularly to address the former Action Plans published by the Forum and a possibility of another one.
  • Senior Officials Meeting: An annual meeting responsible for preparing the next Ministerial Meeting; implementing resolutions made by the last one and calling political consultations between China and the AL.
  • Liaison Group: This group promotes communication between all involved and implements resolutions made by the Ministerial Meeting and the Senior Officials Meeting. The Chinese Embassy in Egypt is the liaison group of China while the Arab Envoys Committee to China and the Arab League Representative Office in China form the liaison group of the League.
  • Other Mechanisms: The forum is composed by more than ten other mechanisms aimed to deepen cooperation.

Source: (Xinhua, 2016); (Jalal, 2014); (Xinhua, 2016)

Main Mechanisms

  • Entrepreneurs Conference

Focuses on enterprises and aims to improve economic and trade exchanges between China and the Arab world in a global context.

  • Special Economic and Trade Seminar

A flexible mechanism which provides an opportunity for cooperation projects and enhances the relevance of trade cooperation between involved parties.

  • Energy Cooperation Conference

The goal is to strengthen China-Arab energy cooperation and sustainable development.

  • China-Arab Relations and Civilization Dialogue Seminars

Promotes equality, solidarity and communication between  different cultures with a major aim to accomplish peaceful coexistence.

  • Cultural Exchanges

Cultural activities such as art festivals are held in both parts to promote mutual understanding.

  • Higher Education and Scientific Cooperation Seminar

A seminar to enhance cooperation in the educational and scientific area.

  • News Cooperation Forum

The goal is to cooperate in the mass media field using the press to enhance friendly cooperation

  • Environmental Cooperation

Promotes cooperation in environmental protection and sustainable developmental efforts.

  • Human Resources Training

The goal is to promote cooperation through seminars and technical training courses for a diverse group of public officials.

  • Non-Governmental Exchanges

An important auxiliary channel in boosting friendly cooperation between China and the Arab League.


2000:  AL proposes CASCF’s creation

January 2004: CASCF’s establishment

September 2004: 1st Ministerial Meeting in Cairo. Declaration of the China-Arab State Cooperation Forum.

May 2006: 2nd Ministerial Meeting in Beijing. Joint Communiqué on Environmental Protection.

May 2008: 3rd Ministerial Meeting in Manama

May 2010: 4th Ministerial Meeting in Tianjin. China-Arab strategic cooperative relationship.

May 2012: 5th Ministerial Meeting in Hammamet – theme “deepen the strategic cooperation and promote common development”

June 2014: 6th Ministerial Meeting in Beijing. Development Plan for 2014-2024.

May 2016: 7th Ministerial Meeting opens in Doha. 60 years of diplomatic relations between China and Arab States.

Action Plans

1st  Action Plan:

Main chapters:

(i) Political Cooperation: China and the AL pursue coordinated positions on regional and international affairs and seek peaceful solutions, sustainable development and cooperation on themes such as organized crime and drugs traffic.

(ii) Economic Cooperation: the members agreed to focus on areas such as trade, investment, energy, science, technology, agriculture, environment and labor to promote its common development and to create favorable conditions to economic partnerships.

(iii) Social, Culture and News Cooperation: The Forum promotes different kinds of culture exchanges and cooperation opportunities in human resources, education, health, poverty, rural development and media fields.

2nd Action Plan:

The two sides agreed to establish a political cooperation mechanism.

Source: China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, n.d.


  • The China-Arab Conference on Environmental Cooperation (2006): established the importance on economic development,  social progress and environmental protection; emphasizing the creation of sustainable development and the promotion of cooperation between the two parties. To achieve these mutual goals, both parties have signed the “Joint Communiqué” to guide the deepening of their regional environmental cooperation.
  • An Annual Implementation Plan is completed every two years to actively promote and establish cooperation in projects and activities in the areas of policy making, financing, and environmental legislation.

Source: (China Arab-States Cooperation Forum, 2018)


Trade and Investment

  • Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Arab States, cooperation and trade has continued increased. The Arab States have become China’s greatest supplier of crude oil and the 7th biggest trading partner. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC, 2016)
  • China also has an investment and support policy with the Arab States in the field of petroleum and natural gas; cooperative investments are articulated to optimize oil extraction, transportation, and refining. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC, 2016.

Chinese participation in the Arab States Exportations (2015)

Source: (OEC, n.d)


Source: (OEC, n.d)


Fonte: OEC, n.d


Fonte: (OEC, n.d)

  • Since the foundation of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, trade volume has increased. In 2003, the trade volume was USD 25.4 billion and in 2004 the exchange between both parties increased by USD 11.3 billion.. In 2008, the trade value rose to USD 132.9 billion, reaching the goal of bilateral trade volume. Source: (Kuwait News Agency; 2010)


Fonte: The China Global Investment Tracker; n.d.


Fonte: OEC, n.d


Fonte: WITS; n.d