China is economic footprint has grown dramatically during the last two decades. The country has already eclipsed the United States as the largest trading partner of industrialized nations such as Japan and the European Union. Yet, the world’s second-largest economy is also making substantial advances in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia’s Trade with China’s Surpassed Its Trade with the West
China’s imports from and exports to Saudi Arabia now exceed the large oil-producing country’s total commerce with the United States and the European Union, becoming China Saudi Arabia’s dominating trading partner.
In 2001, Saudi Arabia’s commerce with China was a paltry tenth of its trade with the EU and the US. While the total amount of commerce was low then, it increased steadily practically every year thereafter.
By 2011, China had surpassed the United States in bilateral trade value with Saudi Arabia for the first time. Then, by 2018, trade between China and Saudi Arabia had overtaken trade between the Middle Eastern country and the whole EU. Now, China is a greater trading partner with Saudi Arabia than the rest of the Western world combined.
Oil and Petroleum Products What China Most Buys from Saudi Arabia
Given its recent economic development and emphasis, China’s place as Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner makes sense.
China is the world’s largest importer of crude oil, and it buys more from Saudi Arabia than any place else. China’s crude oil imports accounted for about half of the $87.3 billion in bilateral commerce between the two countries in 2021. This accounted for 77% of China’s total imports from Saudi Arabia, including petroleum products like plastic.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia bought almost $30 billion in products, including technology equipment, telephones, and light fixtures.