China, UAE set sights on broader cooperation

By Song Lin and Shen Weiduo Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/22 20:38:40

Agreements pave way for deeper partnership under BRI

Photo taken on May 6, 2016 shows the view of Liwa desert, some 240 kilometers southeast of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE, located at the intersection of the Belt and Road Initiative, is an important partner for China to promote the Belt and Road Initiative. (Photo: Xinhua)

China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed multiple agreements on Monday to enhance bilateral cooperation in sectors ranging from energy to financing under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). 

Amid rising global trade protectionism, Chinese officials noted that the two nations could also work together to improve the global multilateral trading system.

Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi of the UAE, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is on a state visit to China from Sunday to Tuesday.

Hailing the UAE as China's important strategic partner in the Middle East, Xi stressed during the talks that the two will continue to promote the high-quality development of the BRI, strive to achieve bilateral trade of $200 billion by 2030, and advance demonstration projects such as the Khalifa Port Container Terminal Phase II and China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone. 

While vowing to expand long-term, stable and comprehensive strategic cooperation in the energy sector, the two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Monday to promote bilateral cooperation in capacity, investment and financing under the BRI. They will also encourage companies from both countries to join hands and expand the Middle East and North Africa markets.

"The UAE has always been a close partner of China and an active member in the BRI," Zhang Jianping, director general with the Center for Regional Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times on Monday.

The development of the two nations could be complementary, since the UAE is looking for more investment opportunities under the framework of the BRI and also plays a linking role for China's investment projects in western Asian countries, Zhang said.

In all, 19 strategic and cooperation agreements were signed between companies from China and the UAE at the UAE-China Economic Forum on Monday, including an MOU between China's biggest ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing and the UAE's Symphony.

To achieve the $200 billion goal in bilateral trade, some work is already in progress and companies are looking for opportunities arising from the promising bilateral relationship.

An employee with the China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone told the Global Times on the sidelines of the forum that the management service center building of the zone was completed in June and construction of the first group of factories has commenced.

A number of financial institutions from China and abroad, together with its own financial service platform, will provide high-efficiency financing investment services for companies entering the zone, according to a statement sent to the Global Times by the zone.

Emma Wang, chief growth officer of OneConnect Smart Technology, a member of China's Ping An Group, told the Global Times at the forum that they will cooperate with UAE partners to develop projects involving financial technology and other activities. She did not disclose any further details.

Vice Minister of Commerce Yu Jianhua said at the forum on Monday that the global multilateral trading system is feeling the impact of unilateralism and protectionism, but the trend of economic globalization is irresistible.

"China has been firmly upholding international multilateralism," Yu said, adding that China and the UAE are natural partners in promoting the construction of the BRI based on their long-lasting friendship and similar development philosophies.

Against the backdrop of the gloomy global economy, the accelerating cooperation between China and the UAE will enhance the world's multilateralism and benefit many countries, Zhang noted.


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