The President of the Chinese Business Council in the UAE has said that the upcoming visit of President Xi Jinping of China to the UAE will help boost the political and economic ties between the two countries and will also create additional commercial links, to achieve the mutual goals of the business communities of both countries.
In an interview with Emirates News Agency, WAM, Huang Jang Zhang, said that the economic and investment ties between the two countries reflect their keenness to promote investments and development projects. He described the UAE as the gateway to the markets of the Middle East.
He added that despite the plunge in oil prices and the slowdown of the global economy, it is necessary, as was learnt from previous experiences, to work hard to benefit from current economic conditions and deal with future developments, and both sides should exert their utmost efforts to restructure their economies through reform and innovation.
Regarding the role of the Chinese Business Council in developing the economic and commercial ties between the UAE and China, Zhang noted that the council is working to reinforce the mutual coordination and cooperation between Chinese institutions and companies in the UAE, as well as to protect the legal rights and interests of its members, promote communication between local governments and the business community, and advance China’s economic and commercial cooperation with the UAE.
The council also provides its members with various services related to working and coordinating with Chinese companies, to help them operate legal businesses and solve key commercial problems through negotiations.
Zhang pointed out that around 4,200 Chinese companies were operating in the UAE at the end of 2017, and noted that the total value of Foreign Direct Investments, FDIs, from China in the UAE reached $9.1 billion (Dh33.42 billion) that year, which include oil, gas, infrastructure, finance, construction, telecommunications, trade and other sectors. The previous year saw FDIs from China to the UAE worth $610 million, he explained.
Zhang affirmed that the UAE’s investment environment is attractive to Chinese investors while highlighting a surge in Chinese investments in development projects in the UAE.
The coming period will witness the establishment of new partnerships between Emirati and Chinese companies in many key sectors, such as industry, manufacturing, finance, culture, education, energy and agriculture”
- Huang Jang Zhang | President of the Chinese Business Council in UAE
“The coming period will witness the establishment of new partnerships between Emirati and Chinese companies in many key sectors, such as industry, manufacturing, finance, culture, education, energy and agriculture,” ZHANG stated. He explained that Chinese tourists represent 1.7 per cent of the total number of tourists visiting the UAE, a rise of four per cent compared to 2016, with further growth is expected in the coming years.
Zhang revealed that the UAE is the first country from the Middle East taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative, and received a mutual visa exemption for ordinary passports in 2017 while the number of Chinese tourists visiting the UAE exceeded 1.1 million that year, an increase of 50 per cent.
He added that the number of Chinese tourists who visited Abu Dhabi in 2017 reached around 374,000, an annual growth rate of 61 per cent, making China the largest source of tourists visiting Abu Dhabi this year.
In 2017, China became the fifth leading source of foreign tourists visiting Dubai, whose numbers exceeded 764,000 visitors, a growth of 41 per cent. Around 2.5 million Chinese tourists are expected to visit Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, countries by 2021.
Regarding the importance of the new Silk Road Project in promoting cooperation between the two countries, Zhang said that they share similar development strategies, as the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which was proposed by President Xi, is in line with the concept of reviving the silk road, as was suggested by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Zhang added that the success of the initiative is in the interests of the UAE and China, as it will bring investments and create trade opportunities for both countries while highlighting the fact that their mutual development is remarkable. The UAE is a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and major projects will be implemented in the areas of cooperation, oil and gas, he further added.
The UAE-China Joint Investment Fund is supporting the construction of the UAE’s airports, ports, roads and telecommunications infrastructure. The Renminbi clearing bank has also opened an office in the UAE.
Zhang further pointed out that Chinese companies are active in exploring new investment opportunities with their local partners in the UAE, and are focusing on projects in areas such as industrial parks, wholesale, oil and gas.
Zhang further noted that the largest Chinese companies operating in the UAE include China National Petroleum Corporation, CNPC, China State Construction Engineering Corporation, CSCEC, China Ocean Shipping Company, COSCO, Huawei and Jiangsu Provincial Overseas Cooperation and Investment Company, JOCIC, while adding that these companies have invested billions of dollars in the UAE, in sectors that include oil and gas, construction, ports, technology and industrial zones.
Zhang stated that the value of bilateral trade between the two countries reached $53.3 billion in 2017, and the UAE is the second leading trading partner of China and its largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa.
Zhang stressed that Chinese companies will participate in the EXPO 2020 Dubai under the slogan, “Building a community along with a joint future for humanity: Innovation and Opportunities,” while explaining that the Chinese pavilion will aim to showcase China’s overall development achievements, as well as its efforts to promote scientific and technological innovation, explore new opportunities, and create a global village for humanity, and its role in advancing human civilisation.
“As one of the key partners of China in the Middle East, the UAE serves as a key junction for the Belt and Road Initiative, he affirmed. Chinese participation will promote bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, culture and tourism during the six-month expo,” he concluded.