Beijing: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces held official talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday to bolster strategic bilateral cooperation, and discuss regional and international issues.
During the talks, the two leaders witnessed the launch of a $10 billion UAE-China joint strategic investment fund.
The agreement, signed during an official visit to China by Shaikh Mohammad and a delegation of ministers from the UAE, was signed by Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, and Xu Shaoshi, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
“The formation of this investment fund is a reflection of the growing partnership between the UAE and the People's Republic of China,” said Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed.
“The strong foundations of our relationship have been reinforced by our growing economic ties and deepening political relations. The launch of this strategic, commercially-driven fund represents the next stage of our partnership as we seek to work more closely in developing our economies and contributing to global growth.”
Since formal diplomatic relations between the UAE and China were established in 1984, bilateral trade between the two countries has grown from $63 million in 1984 to US$54.8 billion today, and is expected to reach $60 billion by the end of the year.
"This dynamic investment fund will serve to further strengthen and deepen the strategic and economic relationship between China and the United Arab Emirates," said Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China.
"This fund will also play a critical role in supporting the ‘One Belt, One Road' strategic initiative, as we work towards improving connectivity and cooperation with our regional partners across Eurasia."
Chinese President Xi Jinping said the fund - which is flexible in terms of investments - will contribute to the strengthening and deepening the strategic and economic relations between the two countries.
On his arrival at the Great Hall, Shaikh Mohamed and his accompanying delegation, was received by Li Yuanchao, Vice-President of the People's Republic of China.
The Chinese-UAE strategic investment fund will funded equally by both China and the Government of Abu Dhabi.
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed also met Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao before the ceremony of signing agreements between UAE and China
On Monday, the UAE and China signed nine agreements during the official reception in Beijing for His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
An official reception was held on Monday for Shaikh Mohamed Bin Zayed upon his arrival at Beijing's Great Hall of the People.
The national anthems of the two countries were played, after which Shaikh Mohamed, accompanied by Li Yuanchao, inspected a guard of honour.
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed's high-level delegation includes Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of Federal National Council, Lt. General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, and Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, along with a number of Shaikhs, ministers and senior officials.
Shaikh Mohammad and his delegation on Sunday visited China’s Great Wall, one of the world's most famous landmarks in human history, on the first day of a three-day official visit.
Shaikh Mohammad stood in the front of a number of towers and castles at the Great Wall where he was briefed by Chinese officials about the history of the wall and its major landmarks.
With a history of more than 2,000 years,the Great Wall, one of the greatest wonders of the world, winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, stretching from east to west of China.
Shaikh Mohammad visits The Great Wall of China at Badaling. Picture: WAM
At the end of his visit to the Great Wall, Shaikh Mohammad wrote in the visitors' notebook, “I am please today as I am visiting one of the world’s most important historical and cultural monuments, which embodies the values of work and challenges as well as man’s strong, to express my admiration and appreciation for the Chinese people and their ancient cultural history.
"I hope that our bilateral relations that are based on a solid friendship and deep-rooted historical bonds will develop further for the the benefit of both countries and for the good of the entire humanity.”
He was accompanied by Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, Speaker of the Federal National Council, Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, other Shaikhs, ministers and top officials.
Mohammad meets Emirati students in China
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Sunday met a number of Emirati students studying in Chinese universities and institutes.
Shaikh Mohammad asked the students about their majors and inquired about their academic conditions. He encouraged them to achieve excellence and success in their studies so as to participate with their fellow students in enhancing the development process in the UAE.
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Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in China for new dialogue
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Saturday arrived in Beijing on an official visit at the invitation of President Xi Jinping of China.
During the three-day visit, Shaikh Mohamed will hold a series of meetings to promote the development of friendly relations and strategic cooperation between the two countries, as well as discuss issues of mutual interest and regional and international issues.
Picture: Abdul Hamid Ahmad, Gulf News
The Crown Prince is expected to meet Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and other senior officials during his third trip to the country.
The UAE's high-level delegation includes Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of Federal National Council, Lt. General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, and Shaikh Hamad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, along with a number of shaikhs, ministers and senior officials in the state.
In a statement on the occasion of his arrival in Beijing, Shaikh Mohammad expressed his delight with the visit to the People's Republic of China and the opportunity to discuss with Chinese friends consolidating bilateral relations which, he said, have been based on a strong foundation of friendship, mutual understanding, respect and common interests since the era of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
He said that strengthening relations with China represents a key strategic directives to the UAE under the leadership of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, stressing that the momentum of friendship and cooperation relations of the past decades in all areas, represents a strong foundation for large breakthrough of bilateral relations in the future.
Shaikh Mohammad pointed out that relations between the UAE and China have developed rapidly since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and have seen great qualitative leaps both on the political, economic or cultural levels.
Shaikh Mohammad said that despite the great development of economic and trade relations during last years, there is a common ambitions for further developing them in the coming years, stressing that this visit will be a new opportunity to deepen and expand bilateral cooperation and partnership between the two countries and push forward their relations.
UAE, China stand to gain from starting new dialogues
Both the UAE and China stand to gain a lot of benefits by keeping open communication channels and boosting ties, analysts have said ahead of the state trip.
Alp Eke, senior economist at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, said he expected the visit to provide new opportunities for economic interaction and cooperation.
“UAE and China have been able to create strong economic ties. The UAE, being a stable location in a region of turmoil, is an ideal hub for Chinese companies wishing to expand into the Mena (Middle East and North Africa) region.
In 2014, with $22 billion (Dh80.81 billion) [in imports], China is the top source of imports for the UAE, [and the] UAE is the main market for China in the Mena region,” Eke told Gulf News.
With nearly $55 billion in bilateral trade between both countries in 2014, Eke said the figure is expected to grow even further and easily surpass $60 billion in 2015.
The significance of Shaikh Mohammad’s visit on Sunday also stems from economic challenges that both the UAE and China are currently dealing with on the back of lower oil prices.
As oil supply continues to flood the market, analysts have long said growing energy demand from China could help stabilise the market.
“China is the dominant consumer in commodities such as metals [and] energy, and the global weight has been steadily increasing. A slowdown in the Chinese economy will most definitely affect the supply/demand equation, and will lead to further declines in commodity prices,” NBAD’s Eke said.
Meanwhile, Nikola Kosutic, research manager for the Middle East at Euromonitor International, a market intelligence firm, said that the UAE exported $13 billion worth of mineral fuels, oils, and distillation products to China in 2014.
The figure marks an increase of around $10 billion when compared to that of five years ago.
“While imports from China to the UAE are quite diverse and include a variety of commodities, on the other side, mineral fuels, oils and distillation products account for 82 per cent of total exports from UAE to China,” Kosutic told Gulf News.
He added that China was the UAE’s second most important trade partner (after India), with trade between both countries growing at an average rate of 20 per cent following the 2008 global financial crisis.
“It’s important to note that exports from the UAE to China account for 29 per cent of total trade between two countries, but just five years ago this share was only 12 per cent. Strong growth of exports to China comes despite [the] strong dirham compared to the yuan, [with the] dirham strengthening 6 per cent over the last two years,” Kosutic said.
According to a spokesperson at the Chinese embassy in the UAE, trade between both countries is set grow specifically in the fields of energy, oil and gas, construction, and industry.
He Song, economic and commercial counsellor at the embassy, said various Chinese energy companies have already set up operations in the UAE. He expected to see more coming into the country especially ahead of the Expo 2020, with negotiations already in place between Shanghai and Dubai.
With input from WAM