Abu Dhabi: The UAE and China non-oil trade exchange is expected to rise to $58 billion by the end of 2018 from $53.3 billion in 2017, according to Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy.

"Figures on two way trade speak volumes and are promising. China is the key trading partner of the UAE with non-oil trade growing 15 percent in 2017 to $53.3 billion. The UAE accounts for 30 per cent of China's total exports to Arab countries and 22 percent of total Chinese-Arab trade," said Al Mansouri in his keynote address at the UAE-China Economic Forum.

The forum was organised on Friday by the Ministry of Economy in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry with support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation during the visit of Xi Jinping, President of China. 

It was attended by Zhong Shan, Chinese Minister of Commerce, Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, senior officials and a crowd of Emirati and Chinese businessmen and investors.

The one-day meeting focused on ways to further strengthen joint UAE-China strategic partnership in various fields. It also explored prospects for joint trade, economic and investment cooperation.

"UAE-China strategic partnerships constitutes an important model in the international economic relations. Agreements signed during President Jinping's state visit to the UAE will definitely catapult this partnership to new heights," he said.

On the Belt and Road Initiative, the minister said the UAE will support efforts leading to the success of the initiative as it provides an unprecedented opportunity for regional and international cooperation. "The UAE is an important gateway through which the initiative can have access to the west and Africa,"he added.

"The UAE and China share many common factors in the economic agenda and the future holds wide promising options of cooperation, but sectors like technology, scientific research, advanced industries, artificial intelligence and SMEs will have the top priority in joint cooperation," he said.

Zhong Shan, Chinese Minister of Commerce, called for turning agreements into fruitful and practical reality.

He proposed three main tracks that both the UAE and China can take to materialise their joint cooperation: enhancement of joint cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative; greater cooperation on oil, gas and low-carbon energy and wider cooperation in modern technology and services.

Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, gave a presentation on prospects of joint cooperation on artificial intelligence (AI).

"Open opportunities on AI cooperation between the two countries can concentrate on four fields: digital vision, self-mobility, advanced robots and digital economy, he explained.

During the forum, a memorandum of understanding on investment cooperation was signed between the Abu Dhabi Investment Office and Chinese Business Council.

Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry also signed a MoU with the Chinese Business Council.