UAE-China trade has been booming in recent years, Abdulla bin Damithan, CEO and Managing Director of UAE-based logistics multinational DP World, said at a recent webinar.
Speaking at the webinar along with the Chinese Business Council in the UAE, bin Damithan pointed to “strong trade relations and people-to-people synergies” resulting in robust UAE-China trade relations, and growing interest to invest in Dubai by Chinese companies.
In another virtual event earlier last month, the Sharjah FDI Office highlighted investment opportunities across sectors for Chinese businesses and investors.
These sectors included healthcare, pharmaceutical manufacturing, mobility, logistics, agritech, green tech, and advanced manufacturing. While the UAE was China’s largest MENA non-oil trading partner, there were nearly 600 Chinese companies registered in Sharjah alone, speakers at the webinar said.
UAE-CHINA TRADE IN NUMBERS
Chinese exports to the UAE have grown 15.6% annually in the last 24 years, whereas UAE exports to China have increased by 22.8% annually.
By 2019, UAE-China trade volume had reached the USD 50 billion mark, with prospects to grow this to USD 200 billion by 2030. Major joint initiatives underpinning bilateral relations between the two countries include the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the UAE-China Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone, and the Hassyan clean coal power plant.
China remains the UAE’s biggest trade partner by imports, comprising 13.9% of imports. Key products include machinery and electrical equipment, textiles, metals, plastics and chemical products, and furniture.
It is also the country’s third-biggest trade partner by exports (7.2%), with key products including petroleum, transportation equipment, chemical products, and metals.
A report by HSBC outlines earlier initiatives, such as a USD 10 billion fund in 2015, and China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (of which the UAE is a founding member), meant to strengthen UAE-China trade efforts.
Both countries have been working on free trade zones and export-driven economic zones for ease of trade, in addition to the BRI. The move has yielded results. In 2016, China’s COSCO Shipping, which is the world’s largest container operator, opted for Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi as its Middle East operational centre. Further, over 15 Chinese companies have established a presence at Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, investing USD 1 billion.
Moreover, both countries also aim to take up joint investments in Africa and the Pacific Islands, the report noted. With 60% of exports from China passing through the UAE, these steps only cement ties with the world superpower.
Photo credit: www.oilandgasmiddleeast.com/products-services/34698-khalifa-industrial-zone-abu-dhabi-cuts-fees-for-75-of-its-services
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