Marking his fourth visit to China, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and UAE Armed Forces Deputy Supreme Commander, landed in Beijing yesterday, on 21 July. His last visit to the Asian powerhouse was in 2015.
Today, the UAE and China signed 16 Memorandums of Understanding in various sectors at the UAE-China Economic Forum, that began earlier in the day. The Forum was attended by over 500 people representing the public and private sectors, and over 240 political and business leaders from the UAE, who witnessed the signing of the 16 MoUs.
For reference, this time last year Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the UAE, which saw the signing of 13 MoUs for strengthening partnerships and bilateral cooperation.
Today’s Forum was held under the "Sustainable Partnership, Sustainable Investment" slogan. It aims to improve cooperation between the countries as well as participating companies and investors, under the strategic partnership that has 13 key pillars including: commerce, investment, oil, clean energy, tourism, health, environment, space, construction and innovative industries.
“China and the UAE have made solid steps in our cooperation under the ‘Belt and Road’ framework and yielded remarkable achievements. Our cooperation in commodities trade is optimising, with the UAE maintaining its status as China’s second largest trading partner and top export market in the Middle East and North Africa region.”Ni Jian, the Chinese Ambassador to the UAE
China is the UAE's second-largest trading partner. In 2017, it saw almost US$60 billion in bilateral trade. This is expected to reach up to US$70 billion by 2020.
Additionally, Mr. Ni Jian divulged that Chinese direct foreign investment in the UAE was worth $620 million in 2017—which made the total cumulative Chinese investment in the UAE over the years reach $9.1 billion in 2017.
Coming to more recent figures, there are 200,000 Chinese nationals residing in the UAE, which is playing a huge role in furthering the bilateral trade between the two nations up by 6.2 percent to $11.2 billion in Q1 2019, as compared to the same time last year.
He further added that “China-UAE trade is expected to maintain the momentum of rapid growth throughout 2019 and beyond.”
“The state visit will deepen ties and build on the foundation of the comprehensive strategic partnership announced in July of last year, during President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UAE. Since this momentous visit, the relationship between the UAE and China has now achieved diversity and richness at various levels and we look forward to now capitalising upon this.”Dr Ali Obaid Al Daheri, UAE Ambassador to China
In addition to signing the 16 MoUs earlier today, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and UAE Armed Forces Deputy Supreme Commander and ChinesesPresident Xi Jinping witnessed another important Framework signed in the energy sector.
A Strategic Framework Agreement was signed by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). The objective of the Framework Agreement is for the two national oil companies to explore new collaboration opportunities in both the upstream and downstream sectors, as well as in liquefied natural gas.
State agency WAM reported that ADNOC and CNOOC have also agreed to share knowledge, best practices and latest proven technologies to improve operational efficiency in the processing and treatment sour gas, as well as in delivering efficiency, performance, and reliability for sour gas drilling operations and improving field and reservoir development plans.
"The future collaboration opportunities agreed today with CNOOC reinforce ADNOC’s strategic approach to partners that offer technology, capital or market access to maximise value from Abu Dhabi’s vast oil and gas resources. In addition, the collaboration opportunities underpin our 2030 smart growth strategy as well as our focus on key economies and Asian growth markets such as China."Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and CEO of ADNOC Group
The growing ties between China and the UAE—both economic powerhouse of their respective regions—is bound to help the countries' economies grow. When it comes to SMEs, a large part of Chinese nationals in the UAE work in the sector. Additionally, China and the UAE are easing rules and regulations in an attempt to open up to the international market and attract FDI. These moves are evidently helping them gain increasing attention from the international investor community looking to tap into the growing market potential. All this points to the trend of a brighter future for both economies, together.