The Chinese Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Ni Jian, said that bilateral trade between Beijing and Abu Dhabi reached $11.2 billion in the first quarter of 2019. This number represents a 16.21% increase compared to the same period in 2018.
“China-UAE trade is expected to maintain the momentum of rapid growth throughout 2019 and beyond,” Ni Jian told the Emirates News Agency (WAM). He added that in the first five months of 2019, bilateral trade amounted to $19 billion, up by 11.37% compared to last year.
In 2018, China’s exports to the UAE grew by 3.2% to $29.66 billion, and China’s imports from the UAE went up by 32.8 % to $16.26 billion, the ambassador said.
He pointed out that “as China and the UAE use different methods for bilateral trade, the figures from both sides may differ.”
Jian added “China and the UAE have made solid steps in our cooperation under the ‘Belt and Road’ framework and yielded remarkable achievements. Our cooperation in commodities trade is optimising, with the UAE maintaining its status as China’s second-largest trading partner and top export market in the Middle East and North Africa region.”
China’s investments over the years in the UAE reached $9.1 billion in 2017. Chinese Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, in the UAE was worth $620 million in 2017 alone, the ambassador said.
“The $410 billion China-UAE Joint Investment Fund is operating smoothly, which highlights the practical cooperation between both countries.
“In general, Chinese companies in the UAE have been growing by leaps and bounds, especially at a time when our bilateral relations are thriving, and the UAE has become an important partner in the ‘Belt and Road’ cooperation.”
According to WAM, Chinese engineering contracting companies signed new project contracts worth $7.64 billion in the UAE in 2018, up by 53% compared to the previous year. The ambassador said that those companies made revenues to the tune of $3.61 billion in 2018, a 44.8% increase compared to 2017. He added that between 4,000 to 6,000 Chinese companies are operating in the UAE, mostly based in Dubai.
According to the Dubai Department of Economic Development, 618 new business licences were issued to Chinese companies in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 22.8%. The top diplomat explained that by the end of 2018, there were altogether 5,977 effective business licences for Chinese companies registered in Dubai. About 4,811 of them were limited liability companies, and 4,628 were in the commercial and trade sector.
Many large Chinese corporations have also stepped up their interest and participation in the UAE market, WAM has reported.
China-UAE cooperation in the energy sector is expanding across the value chain. From upstream exploration to downstream refinery, and from stakeholding to service-contracting, Chinese and Emirati energy companies are joining hands to forge a strategic partnership, Jian said.
He added that Chinese companies are actively working on railways, airports, seaports, roads, telecommunications and other infrastructure developments in the UAE, making contributions to regional connectivity.