GUANGZHOU, 23rd October, 2023 (WAM) — Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, participated in the first GCC-China economy and trade ministerial conference held in Guangzhou, China, in the presence of Jasem Mohamed AlBudaiwi, GCC Secretary General, ministers of economy and trade of GCC countries, and Wang Wen Tao, Chinese Minister of Trade.
Bin Touq said that under the guidance of its wise leadership, the UAE has made great strides in developing an integrated and pioneering circular economy system in accordance with international best practices. The UAE Circular Economy Agenda 2031 stipulates the implementation of 22 circular economy policies, which will contribute to enhancing the sustainability of the country by the next decade. The UAE has also launched several diverse tourism strategies and initiatives, most notably the “National Tourism Strategy 2031”, contributing to sustained growth in tourism and aviation sector outcomes and indicators, boosting the national economy’s attractiveness for tourism investments, and consolidating its leadership in the global tourism and travel landscape.
On the sidelines of the conference, the Minister of Economy held a bilateral meeting with Wang Wentao, Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, in the presence of Hussein bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, UAE Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, and a number of officials from both sides. The meeting explored ways to strengthen the UAE-China relations in various economic activities and areas, particularly the new economy, energy, manufacturing, renewable energy, health, transport, entrepreneurship and technology.
In his speech at the conference, Bin Touq underlined that the GCC-China relations were established 42 years ago and is witnessing continuous development and fruitful cooperation in all fields today, thanks to the unlimited support from both leaderships.
Bin Touq said, “The conference marks a new chapter of constructive cooperation between the GCC and the Republic of China. Through this platform, we look forward to further deepening this partnership, supporting sustainable development efforts and achieving prosperity for our peoples.” He noted that all topics addressed by the meeting are of particular importance in light of the global shifts that may affect the growth of the global economy.”
He added, “Trade and economic cooperation is the main driver of the growing GCC-China economic partnership. Building on these strong foundations, we are keen to explore new paths to diversify and expand it to include a wider range of economic activities, including the new economy sectors that hold many promising opportunities and enhance the competitiveness and flexibility of our economies in the face of future challenges.”
The Minister of Economy congratulated the Republic of China on the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, pointing out that the UAE supports China’s efforts in developing this fruitful initiative, especially since it has attracted support from several countries and international organizations.
UAE’s support to Belt and Road Initiative
Bin Touq continued, “The UAE is an active partner in the Belt and Road Initiative since its launch in 2013 by capitalizing on the country’s developmental capabilities, strategic location, and leading economic role in the region. The UAE has invested US$10 billion in the China-UAE investment fund to support the initiative’s projects in East Africa and has signed 13 MoUs with China in 2018 to invest in various sectors in the UAE.”
As for the trade between the UAE and other countries of the Belt and Road Initiative, the trade volume between the UAE and Asia, Africa, and Europe amounted to about $560 billion in 2022, up 20 percent from 2021. China, India, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, Japan, Oman, Kuwait, and Hong Kong are among the top 10 trading partners of the UAE. Our non-oil trade with the Belt and Road partners amounted to $305 billion in the first half of 2023, accounting for 90 percent of the UAE’s non-oil trade during this period, with more than 13 percent growth. Besides, 88 percent of the UAE’s imports come from and 94 percent of its non-oil exports go to Belt and Road countries. Also, 92 percent of re-exports were directed towards these countries.
These results boost China’s efforts to implement the initiative in partnership with all partner nations to revitalize trade among the markets of Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Participation in China-GCC Economic & Trade Cooperation Forum
The event also hosted the China-GCC Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum to highlight the promising opportunities and potential offered by GCC countries and China to the private sector. It was also aimed at enhancing dialogue between the GCC and Chinese business communities to lead to the creation of diverse opportunities and establishment of new partnerships that benefit both economies.
Bin Touq said, “The GCC-China private sector partnership has numerous opportunities and wide prospects for growth in many vital areas. The UAE sees the Chinese private sector as a key partner as the country currently hosts more than 4,000 Chinese companies operating in key sectors such as trade, logistics services, transport, financial and insurance activities, real estate, energy, and renewable energy.”
Furthermore, the Minister of Economy called on the Chinese private sector to benefit from the advantages of the UAE’s new economic model and the incentives offered by its business environment. This was made possible through an array of legislative amendments, most notably to the Commercial Companies Law to allow 100 percent foreign ownership. In addition, visa and residency systems were revamped, introducing freelance and green residencies to attract talents and startups, simultaneously enhancing green transformation policies and encouraging the private sector to expand in circular economy sectors. He explained that these innovative economic policies have opened up new avenues for enhancing cooperation with the Chinese private sector and establishing more partnerships between the UAE and the GCC countries.