Omani energy company bullish on China, set to expand its presence |
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Omani energy company bullish on China, set to expand its presence

By LIU ZHIHUA China Daily Updated: 2021-04-21
Exhibitors engage with the public at the OQ booth at CHINAPLAS 2021, the world's leading technology-oriented plastics and rubber trade fair. [Photo provided to]

OQ, a global integrated energy company based in Oman, has grasped opportunities brought by China's further opening-up and expanded its presence in the Chinese market, senior executives said.

The company entered China in 2010 and established its Northeast Asia headquarters in Shanghai. It also built a production site in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, for chemicals.

Globally, the company operates in 17 countries, with its polymers and chemical products sold in more than 85 countries.

During an exclusive interview with China Daily, Hilal Al Kharusi, OQ's chief commercial officer, spoke highly of the Chinese government's determination to implement greater and deeper opening-up to the outside world, and said "a higher level of opening-up encourages all stakeholders to focus on and invest in the Chinese market".

The executive said: "China is the most important strategic market for OQ, and we are optimistic about its prospects. We will strive to be part of the new development picture, by contributing to the dual-circulation pattern, and sharing the opportunities that China's economic growth brings about.

"We have every reason to believe that as the business environment continues to optimize and improve, China will become a more open and dynamic economy. This will bring a chance for all the market players to prosper."

Over the past few years, the company has continuously deepened cooperation with local partners, set up a sales network, expanded its team of engineers and added a customer services team-all to provide the best possible solutions for the Chinese market.

Gilles Rochas, vice-president for performance chemicals division at OQ, said rapid economic development in China is likely to contribute greatly to the growth of global polymer industries.

Rochas is bullish on China's market potential under the new dual-circulation development pattern, and said the company is keen to provide more solutions to the Chinese market.

China's aims to peak carbon emissions by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2060 show that the country is committed to developing the nation in a greener way, he said.

Although there are many challenges ahead of achieving the 2060 goal, there are also opportunities amid the accelerating green transformation. It is a signal for market players to direct future flows of capital and technology to green, low-carbon development, Rochas added.

Showing strong economic resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, China became the top destination for foreign investment last year.

In the recently unveiled master development plan for the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), the country has planned for higher-level reform and opening-up, while prioritizing dual-circulation development and high-quality development.

Cui Fan, an international trade and economics professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, expects inflows of FDI into China will continue to boom, thanks to the country's new round of higher-level opening-up and deepening supply-side reforms.

The dual-circulation strategy emphasizes building a strong domestic market, which will create more business opportunities for foreign investors, and this can play a key role in the better interplay of domestic and foreign markets, Cui said.

According to the new negative lists released last June, sectors that are off-limits for foreign investors on the national list have been cut to 33 from 40 in the 2019 version.

For pilot free trade zones, the number of prohibited industries for foreign investors was reduced to 30 from 37.

The new industry catalog for sectors encouraging foreign investment released last December also added 127 items, with another 88 items modified to expand their coverage.

In addition, the Foreign Investment Law has also been actively implemented to better protect the interests of foreign investors.