Major Gen Omar al Bitar Opportunities to strengthen economic ties
between the United Arab Emirates and China, were the focus of talks during a
two-day visit to China by UAE minister of state H.E Dr. Sultan Al Jaber.
The visit is expected to lay the ground work for increased economic
activity between the UAE and China which is growing at more than 14 per cent
annually. Discussions explored opportunities for collaboration and investment
across sectors of mutual interest, including energy, infrastructure and technology.
During the visit, H.E. Dr Al Jaber met with senior Chinese
government officials, including the Vice Foreign Minister of China, H.E. Zhang
Yesui. Talks were also held with H.E Hu Zucai, vice chairman of the National Development and
Reform Commission (NDRC) as well as the Chief
Economic Officer of China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).
The NDRC holds
administrative and planning control over the Chinese economy, with a function to formulate policies
for economic and social development. The commission recently opened up 80 Chinese
projects across a range of industries for private investment. The move was made
parallel to China's foreign exchange regulatory agency, SAFE, announcing
measures to ease foreign currency transactions and support foreign trade and
investment in China. SAFE overseas over 4 trillion US dollars of China’s
Dr. Al Jaber also met with Zheng Zhijie, the vice chairman
of the China Development Bank (CBD), and CEO of the China Development Bank
Capital, Fan Haibin. CBD is
primarily responsible for raising capital to fund large Chinese infrastructure
projects, such as the Three Gorges Dam and Shanghai International Airport.
Commenting on his visit to Beijing, Dr Al Jaber said: “China
and the UAE have a strong and growing bilateral relationship based on shared
values and common political and economic interests. We are exploring opportunities to collaborate
across various sectors of mutual interest including, new and traditional
energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, technology and finance.”
Trade between the UAE and China topped AED 169.67 billion
(US $46.23 billion) in 2013, compared to AED 148.27 billion (US $40.4 billion)
in 2012. With 4,200 Chinese companies registered in the UAE, the Emirates are
the largest Middle East market for Chinese products.
“With the accelerated growth of both our economies and our common
vision for partnership, we see tremendous opportunity in working together to
support our development plans and to contribute to the broader global economy,”
added H.E Dr. Al Jaber.
China’s economy advanced 7.4 percent in the first quarter of
2014, slowing from a 7.7 percent expansion in the previous period, but beating
market forecasts. Industrial production growth rose to 7.3 percent year on
year. Manufacturing increased 9.9 percent and the production and supply of
electricity, heat, gas and water went up by 4.5 percent.