UAE envoy sees 30 per cent jump in China trade
The proposed “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” will open up greater business opportunities for all the countries involved in it.
The UAE expects a 30 per cent jump in bilateral business with China in the next two years, according to UAE ambassador in Beijing, Omar Al Bitar.
“We expect the bilateral trade to go up from $46 billion in 2013 to $60 billion by 2015,” Al Bitar told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) held in Beijing on Thursday.
He was also upbeat about the Chinese proposal to revive the ancient maritime Silk Road, which will also involve Arab countries including the UAE. The proposed “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” will open up greater business opportunities for all the countries involved in it, he said.
“Multinational cooperation has a positive effect on all countries. It adds to world economy. Development and growth replaces troubles, brings welfare to the people everywhere,” he said.
Al Bitar said that the UAE is eager and ready to absorb enhanced Chinese investments because its special geographical location and strong financial centre. “UAE is the first destination for Chinese goods in the Arab world. It is China’s second trade partner from the Chinese perspective,” he said.
In his keynote address to the CASCF, Chinese president Xi Jinping stressed the huge opportunities that could be tapped in the field of China-Arab nations partnership. “What China pursues is common development. We want to achieve development for ourselves and we want to enable others to grow as well,” he said.
China was keen to put more money into projects in Arab countries, which attracted just $2.2 billion worth of Chinese investments last year. Plans also include a drastic $50 billion increase in China’s non-financial investment stock in Arab states from $10 billion last year to over $60 billion in the coming decade, he said.
“Where there is a gap, there are potential and opportunities,” Xi said. Chinese companies want to enhance investments in such fields as energy, petrochemicals, agriculture, manufacturing and services of Arab states.
In the next five years, China will import over $10 trillion in goods and make more than $500 billion in direct investment abroad. This opens up huge opportunities for Arab countries to attract Chinese investments, Xi said.
China’s imports from Arab countries amounted to $140 billion in 2013, which was only about seven per cent of the $2 trillion worth of goods China imported from across the globe, he said while emphasising the vast opportunities that remain to be tapped.
“China will encourage Chinese companies to import more non-petroleum products from Arab states to improve trade mix and raise the two-way trade volume from $240 billion last year to $600 billion in the coming decade,” Xi said.
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