China remains a major trade partner for the UAE as non-oil trade touched $2.8 billion in 2001.

Yesterday, a 10-member Chinese trade delegation visited the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) as part of a regional tour of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

"China and the UAE have enjoyed favourable economic and trade relations. In 2001, trade was $2.8 billion, including $86 million of agro-products and foodstuffs," said Cao Xumin, president of China Chamber of Commerce for I/E of Foodstuffs, native produce and animal by-products (CFNA), and leader of the delegation.

"Dubai and China maintained progressive trade relations in the past years. Non-oil trade between Dubai and China touched $2.2 billion in 2001," said Abdul Rahman Al Ghurair, DCCI's first vice-president.

"A wide spectrum of business opportunities exists in our region for Chinese companies in sectors like trade, export of manufactured goods, tour operators, travel and transport, consultancy services, tourism and many others," he added.

Al Ghurair said the core objective of Dubai is to maintain its business and competitiveness and to better serve the local and foreign communities.

Trade, manufacturing and services are expected to contribute over 90 per cent of Dubai's GDP in the coming years, he pointed out.

Xumin said: "Dubai has a high level of economy and trade. Therefore, there is great potential for trade and economic cooperation including trade for agro-products and foodstuffs."

As the only trade organisation representing the business of agro-products in China, CFNA, he added, has more than 40 sub-chambers and over 3,400 member companies spread over mainland China and ranging from China's largest multinational agro-trade corporations to small agro-trade and production companies.

"Member companies include state-owned enterprises, joint ventures, wholly foreign-invested companies and private enterprises."

The commodity range of CFNA members covers agricultural, forest, aquatic products, foodstuffs, beverage and canned foods, native produce, feather, hair, bristle, leather, fur and carpets.

The import and export volume of agro-products of CFNA members represents 60 per cent of China's total import and export volume of agro-products.

Ranking first with a share of 9.31 per cent in Dubai's total imports, Dubai imported Chinese goods worth Dh7,744,247 out of its total imports estimated at Dh83,186,850 last year.

Dubai's exports to China in 2001 were Dh129,882 of its total exports at Dh5,909,285. China ranked second in Dubai's list of export destinations with a 2.2 per cent in its overall export.

Ranking 60th in re-export destinations at 0.12 per cent share, Dubai's re-exports to China were 26,159 of the emirate's overall re-exports worth Dh22,575,374.