The volume of bilateral trade between UAE and China has been hitting a high note in recent years. This is only going to grow a lot more. Image Credit: Shutterstock

The map of cross-border economic and geopolitical cooperation is evolving at a rapid pace, with various countries striving to enhance their interests and strengthen positions within the new global re-alignment of influence.

This transformation has been particularly noticeable in the past two decades, as newly influential countries have emerged and pushed to diversify relations tailored to their national interests.

In this regard, there is rapid growth in GCC countries’ relations with Asian ecomomies at all levels. Last week’s visit by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to South Korea and China came to add a new block to the growing GCC-Asia relationship.

China and South Korea, in addition to India, occupy an advanced status in the UAE’s economic ties, occupying prime spots in the country's trade exchanges. This is besides the growing joint investments and cooperation in various fields, such as nuclear energy and advanced technology.

In view of this, the recent visit has yielded extremely important results that will move it to a new phase of comprehensive strategic cooperation, as evidenced by the topics discussed during the joint ministerial and technical meetings.

The UAE-South Korea trade amounted to almost Dh19.5 billion ($5.3 billion) in 2022, an increase of 14 per cent compared to 2021. The nation is also one of the most important partners of the UAE in the field of advanced tech and clean energy.

As for China, it is the foremost trade partner of the UAE, according to data from the Ministry of Economy, with the volumes reaching Dh284 billion ($77.3 billion) in 2023, which is a 27 per cent growth compared to 2022, and 80 per cent over the last five years. China is the second largest foreign investor in the country with an investment volume of Dh23.3 billion ($6.3 billion) since 2020.

During the visit to Korea, new agreements were signed with an aim of expanding economic and technical cooperation in the sectors of renewable energy, joint investments, trade exchange, infrastructure, education, health, transportation and new-generation communications.

The agreements will lead to more equal and mutually beneficial cooperation, which reflects the nature of emerging international relations, especially in light of the two-way exchange in all fields.

A ballast for greater GCC-Asia ties

At the same time, China and South Korea have advanced across industries, such as renewable energy, electric cars and electronics reshaping digital transformation.

The UAE has an experience in the field of energy, transport and infrastructure development, in addition to the results of its experiments in outer space, which included some vital sectors such as environmental, health, biological and astronomy.

The coming years will witness a qualitative leap in the UAE's relations with China and Korea, constituting an important support for the wider strategic economic relations between the GCC and Asia’s biggest economies.

This will constitute a new transformation that will have significant effects on cross-border relations due to the economic weight of the individual nations with their access to energy sources and high-tech. Plus, the considerable weight created through ambitious development programmes.