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‘UAE key player in China’s Silk Road initiative’

China Trade Week kicks off on Monday with 200 exhibitors

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The UAE is a key player in the success of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative as the Gulf country is the largest and most developed import-export hub in the region as well as China’s largest trade partner in the GCC.

The Chinese initiative launched by President Xi Jinping aims to re-establish the old Silk Road trade route both on land and on sea.

According to David Wang, managing director of MIE Events JLT, the organisers behind China Trade Week, the UAE presents various opportunities for China to grow its political, commercial, and cultural ties even further in the region.

“The relationship between China and the UAE can bring much more opportunities for the trade sector, which I think will grow about 10 per cent annually over the next three years.

Also, another important sector is tourism. More and more Chinese visitors are coming to this region, and I can see the number maybe reaching half a million by the end of this year. It used be a few thousands five years back, but last year it reached 400,000, and I think it can grow by the end of this year,” Wang told Gulf News.

He was speaking on Sunday ahead of the third China Trade Week, which kicks off on Monday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. The three-day event is expected to bring over 200 Chinese exhibitors to the capital.

Increased trade activities

Organisers of the event said they are targeting a total of 12,000 visitors to China Trade Week.

The event comes in the wake of increased trade activities between the UAE and China, with Chinese exhibitors looking to create stronger ties with regional distributors and wholesalers.

Products on offer at the event will include construction materials, machinery, clothing, Chinese arts and crafts, electronics, health care, and auto parts, among others.

In 2014, trade between the UAE and China reached $54.8 billion (Dh201 billion). In the first nine months of this year, bilateral trade stood at $36.4 billion as trade volumes of oil remained stable but values dropped on the back of lower oil prices.

Speaking to Gulf News at a press conference last week, He Song, economic and commercial counsellor at the Chinese embassy in the UAE, said that he expected trade values to be lower this year as a result of oil prices.

He expected figures to grow over the next few years, however, especially in areas of energy, oil and gas, construction, and industry.

In late September 2016, China Trade Week is expected to go to Iran as Chinese exhibitors look to tap the market once sanctions are lifted.

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