Belt and Road
Workers inspect railway tracks, which serve as a part of the Belt and Road freight rail route linking Chongqing to Duisburg, at the Dazhou railway station in Sichuan province, China March 14, 2019. Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: An economic and trade delegation from the UAE will participate in the 4th Summit of the Belt and Road Initiative in Hong Kong on September 11 and 12, in the presence of government delegations from 80 countries.

The UAE delegation will be chaired by Abdullah Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs, and include representatives of government and private companies, including the Ministry of Economy, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, the Department of Transport-Abu Dhabi, the Department of Economic Development in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi Ports, Dubai Ports, Khalifa Industrial City in Abu Dhabi, Kizad, the Sharjah Research and Innovation Park, the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, Shurooq, the Fujairah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Etihad Aviation Group and others.

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More than 5,000 speakers and businessmen will also participate in the summit with the government delegations, to discuss 320 investment projects being implemented in 68 countries that are currently part of the initiative while 100 exhibitors and 520 bilateral sessions will also take part.

The two-day summit will discuss the current status of the initiative’s projects and the role of the banking, finance, technology, innovation, creativity, infrastructure and logistics sectors in supporting the initiative.

Al Saleh highlighted the importance of the UAE’s participation in the summit while pointing out that it is prioritising the initiative and is keen to actively take part in the construction of the “Belt and Road” and participate in all relevant events.

He added that the UAE is a key partner for China in implementing the initiative in the region while noting the cooperation between the two countries in developing a joint strategy, and pointing out that the Chinese initiative and the UAE’s concept of reviving the “Silk Road” complement each other and are similar.

Al Saleh then stressed that the UAE’s role in the initiative was firmly established this year, which witnessed two historic visits by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, which resulted in related agreements and projects.

He further added that the UAE and China are keen to further enhance their economic and investment cooperation and fully utilise the work of the China-UAE Joint Economic and Trade Committee, as well as the mutual visits of businessmen, to encourage economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, which are keen to further facilitate trade and investment, work together to create a free trade area, and create a more stable and transparent economic and trade environment.

Al Saleh stated that the value of non-oil trade between the UAE and Hong Kong rose to Dh35.9 billion at the end of 2018, compared to Dh32.5 billion at the end of 2017, an increase of Dh3.8 billion or 12 per cent. He also pointed out that trade within free zones between the UAE and Hong Kong increased to Dh8 billion at the end of last year, compared to Dh7.3 billion at the end of 2017, an increase of Dh647 million or 8.8 per cent.

Regarding trade in commodities, he affirmed that four commodities dominated imports to the UAE from Hong Kong, which are diamonds worth Dh4.2 billion, followed by gold worth Dh4 billion, jewellery worth Dh1.1 billion, and precious stones worth Dh450 million. The UAE’s non-oil export commodities included gold worth Dh1.5 billion, jewellery worth Dh419 million, insulated wires worth Dh179 million, publications worth Dh18 million, diamond re-exports worth Dh6.7 billion, jewellery worth Dh2.2 billion, and machinery and engines worth Dh993 million.

Al Saleh further said that the UAE has attracted foreign investments from Hong Kong worth Dh7.8 billion and hosts 43 companies from the city, as well as 18 commercial agencies and 1,600 brands. Hong Kong’s investments in the UAE are divided into nine key sectors, including finance and insurance, wholesale and retail trade, motor vehicle and motorcycle repair, manufacturing, professional, scientific and technical activities, construction, transport and storage, administrative and support services, and real estate, he added.

Mohammed Nasser Hamdan Al Zaabi, Director of the Trade Promotion Department at the Ministry of Economy, said that the past few years had witnessed 11 visits by economic and non-economic delegations and the signing of seven agreements, most notably the signing of the Ministry of Finance’s final agreement on encouraging and protecting mutual investments between the UAE and Hong Kong.

An agreement was also signed by the Government of Umm Al Qaiwain and Hong Kong, represented by the Hutchison Ports Company, to develop and operate the container facilities of the Ahmed bin Rashid Port, as well as an agreement to prevent double taxation between the UAE and Hong Kong. A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed by Shurooq and the Hong Kong Investment Authority and the Department of Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, of the Hong Kong government, to expand their strategic partnership in the area of investment.