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    Soft Power: Chinese Enterprises Delegation Expected in Syria

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    A delegation of Chinese enterprises is expected to visit Syria in mid-August to explore investment opportunities that might help rebuild the war-torn country, Qin Yong, the deputy chairman of China-Arab Exchange Association, told Sputnik Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to Qin, the Chinese delegation is expected to visit Syrian cities including Damascus, Homs and Aleppo and meet with local officials to discuss investment opportunities on a wide range of reconstruction projects.

    "We expect a group of 30-50 representatives from different Chinese companies to travel with us to Syria on August 15-22," Qin said.

    The China-Arab Exchange Association, jointly with the Syrian Embassy in China, held the first Syria reconstruction projects fair in Beijing on Sunday. Syria’s Ambassador to China Imad Moustapha delivered a keynote speech at the event to introduce possible investment opportunities for Chinese enterprises interested in taking part in reconstruction projects in Syria.

    The key projects under discussion right now are primarily focused on restoration of the power supply systems in Syria, especially power plants construction projects, Qin explained.

    "After almost seven years of civil war, the power supply systems in Syria were heavily damaged and need to be stored desperately," he said.

    The first delegation of Chinese enterprises visited Syria on April 14-21, led by Qin and two members from association, as well as a representative from the state-owned Jiangxi Construction Group Corporation.

    The first delegation was initially to include a lot more Chinese companies, but many backed out last minute after US President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike of 59 Tomahawk missiles against Syrian targets on April 7, Qin said.

    A second group of a 12-member Chinese delegation visited Syria on June 12-16, including representatives from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba to discuss possibilities of partnership with Syrian government on e-governance.

    The delegation also held meetings with a number of Syrian ministers, who said that Russia, China and Iran would have priority in reconstruction of Syria after the end of the war.

    At the event on Sunday promoting reconstruction projects in Syria, the China-Arab Exchange Association revealed that a plan is under discussion with Syrian authorities to create a Chinese-Syrian industrial park. According to the plan, a total of 150 companies will be represented in the park. The project will require $2 billion and in case of its implementation will provide Syria with 40,000 jobs.

    According to Qin, following Sunday’s promotional event, a number of Chinese enterprises, including state-owned infrastructure constructor China Energy Engineering Corporation and China Construction Fifth Engineering Division Corporation, have signed up for the visit to Syria next month.

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