China, UAE tighten collaboration in new-energy sectors, indicating ‘overcapacity’ a false narrative: Chinese experts
Published: May 31, 2024 10:59 PM
The United Arab Emirates-China Business and Investment Forum kicks off on May 31, in Beijing. Photo: Zhang Weilan/GT

The United Arab Emirates-China Business and Investment Forum kicks off on May 31, in Beijing. Photo: Zhang Weilan/GT

Representatives of participating companies and investors attending the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-China Business and Investment Forum in Beijing on Friday witnessed economic and trade ties between the two countries getting closer, and said China's booming new-energy industry is a boon for the Arab nation.

The event shows a vivid example refuting the Western narrative of "overcapacity." Hype about China's "overcapacity" goes against common sense and facts, while the rise of China's new-energy industry represents advanced production capacity and makes a huge contribution to easing global inflation, as well as the green transformation, Chinese experts said.

Arab nations are actively courting Chinese new-energy vehicle (NEV) companies in a collaboration that not only strengthens the imperative transition away from fossil fuel vehicles, but also fuels economic growth through technological exchange. "The power of China to help the world go green is enormous," Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman and CEO of DMCC told the Global Times on Friday. DMCC is a Dubai-based hub for trade and enterprises supported by the local government.

Chinese new-energy products are popular in the Middle East market due to their competitive prices and the urgent need for green transformation, Sulayem said.

Characterized by strong complementarity and inherent demand for solid development, there are broad prospects for overall cooperation between China and Arab countries, Vice Minister of Commerce Ling Ji said in the opening remarks of the forum on Friday.

The UAE is showing interest in a number of areas in China, stemming from new energy, technology, pharmaceuticals, autonomous machines, and critical minerals, said Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, during the opening speech.

China is the largest trading partner of the UAE, said Ling, adding that in past decades, the two sides have achieved fruitful cooperation in the petrochemical industry, processing and manufacturing, digital economy, clean energy, trade and logistics. 

China's Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao said on Thursday that China's strong economic resilience and potential will provide a stable development environment for China-UAE economic and trade cooperation, and the UAE is welcome to share in China's development dividends, during a meeting with UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi.

China's economic advantage in the new-energy industry also gained extensive recognition at the forum. 

Yousif AI Nowais, chairman and managing director of the Arab Development Company, told the Global Times on Friday that China is a leader in driving sustainable development and has been actively engaging in renewable energy projects, and the fast-tracked cooperation in electric vehicle (EV) technology is in line with the UAE's ambitions in the green and new energy transition.

Several investors from Middle Eastern and Central Asian nations including the UAE have already approached China for help with transition to renewables. They told the Global Times that there are great opportunities for deals in green energy, mining, mineral processing and EVs and battery manufacturing.

The Global Times learnt from some UAE investors that there is much room for supporting facilities to be built in Arab nations, including EV production bases, battery factories, and solar power plants in the coming years. Strengthening cooperation with Chinese companies is expected to help achieve these goals as soon as possible. Without the participation of Chinese companies, low carbon transfer would be too expensive, according to the UAE investors. 

China-Arab cooperation is developing in a multi-dimensional and in-depth direction, especially in deepening exchanges and collaborations in a wide range of areas, including financial investment, scientific and technological innovation, high-end manufacturing, and future energy infrastructure, said Ling.

Enterprises from both sides have agreed to bolster cooperation in various sectors. They also agreed that exchanges and collaboration in the field of new high-tech will be a new driving force for bilateral cooperation, injecting fresh impetus into China-Arab cooperation. 

Ebraheem Budebs, a representative from an Abu Dhabi-based company specializing in aero-engine maintenance, told the Global Times that the company is willing to engage with Chinese aerospace companies to bring more talent from China, with the aim of achieving win-win results and sharing profits based on long-term relationships with China, he said.

At the forum, some UAE enterprises also highlighted strengthening cooperation in cutting-edge, emerging and future industries such as digital economy, artificial intelligence, life sciences, and high-end manufacturing of quantum information.