Manama: Bahrain and China will this weekend sign major agreements on education, health, culture and investment, the Chinese ambassador in Manama has said.

The accords will be signed during a landmark visit by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa to China on September 14-16.

“I am fully confident that the first ever trip by His Majesty King Hamad will strengthen ties between both sides and open new channels of cooperation at several levels,” Li Chen told Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

“The historic state visit by King Hamad is in response to the invitation by Chinese President Xi Jinping.”

During the three-day visit, King Hamad will meet top leaders in Shanghai, he added.

“Besides the official meetings with top leaders from both sides in Shanghai, King Hamad will also visit Ningxia where the first China-Arab State Expo that aims to boost trade between China and Arab Countries including the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will be held.”

Ambassador Chen said the major agreements in the areas of education, health, culture and investment to be signed would boost relations and cooperation.

The diplomat said trade volume between Bahrain and China reached over $1.550 billion “with increasing areas of growth.”

“The Bahrain-China bilateral trade is growing at a rapid pace with big scope of investment for both sides. Currently the trade volume has witnessed growth of 28 per cent and it is still increasing,” he said.

He said China exported scores of products ranging from electronics, textiles, automobiles, furniture and other items while it imported petrochemical and aluminium products from Bahrain.

“This visit will help promote bilateral ties and usher in new growth for both sides. I feel that through this state visit, several Chinese companies will be able to establish a foothold in the region,” he said.

“Bahrain and China have always enjoyed a smooth cordial relation without any problem, and this visit will seal our friendship for years to come.”

According to the latest figures, trade between China and Arab countries increased 14 per cent year on year to a record high of $222.4 billion last year.

China’s exports to Arab countries totalled $91.3 billion, while imports amounted to $131.1 billion.