Dubai: The state visit to China by a senior delegation from the UAE this week is expected to boost trade ties between the two countries and attract more Chinese business to the region, experts said.
A delegation from the country, headed by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, arrived in Beijing yesterday at a time when the two countries are working to strengthen ties.
Businesspeople in the UAE said the visit will strengthen trade to and from the UAE, not just with China but with the rest of the world, too, as the country becomes part of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative.
Zahoor Ahmad, vice-president for strategy and partnership at MIE Groups, a Dubai-based company that helps Chinese companies participate in exhibitions in the Middle East and Africa, said he expected the visit to help ties both from an economic and diplomatic standpoint.
“The UAE is to become one of the pinnacle regional territories [of the One Belt, One Road initiative], which will accelerate that development as a hub for growth in trade not only between China and the Middle East, but also beyond,” he said.
Ahmad added that the visit will encourage more Chinese businesses to invest in the region.
“One of the key components of our business is assisting Chinese SME’s (Small and Medium Enterprises) across 22 sectors to look at investing and trading within the Middle East and Africa, so for us as organisation … this [visit] will only be a bonus. It solidifies trade relations and encourages investments,” he said.
Similarly, Kamal Vachani, director of Al Maya Group and a member of the UAE business delegation to China, said the visit will open up more opportunities for UAE-based companies to do business with China.
“High level bilateral interactions between the UAE and China have improved the prospects of UAE-based companies doing business with China. The UAE is already a major hub of regional trade corridor between China and the Middle East and Africa,” Vachani said.
China is the UAE’s second largest trading partner, with around $60 billion (Dh220 billion) in trade between the two in 2017. The two countries are planning to expand their ties to hit $70 billion in bilateral trade in 2020.