Xi Jinping met ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum on Thursday © Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Xi Jinping met ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum on Thursday © Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Xi visit sparks flurry of trade deals in UAE

24 July 2018

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signed more than a dozen trade deals and agreements with China during Xi Jinping’s three-day visit to the country.

The Chinese president’s stay, part of an overseas tour around the Middle East and Africa to promote his monumental infrastructure and trade project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), resulted in 13 trade agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoU) between the two countries.  

On Thursday, UAE-owned port operator DP World agreed to build a 3m sq m ‘traders market’ with China’s Zheijiang China Commodities City Group (ZCCCG), aimed at helping Chinese manufacturers use its strategic position at the free economic zone of Jebel Ali port in Dubai. 

The market, which it is hoped will attract trade across sectors from household goods to engineering and technology, would “create trade hubs and seamless supply chain opportunities” needed to capitalise on economic growth, said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of DP World.

“The new traders market will provide an ideal platform for traders to showcase and sell goods in Dubai to local and international businesses,” he added.

Meanwhile, Etihad Airways signed a deal with Jiangsu Provincial Overseas Cooperation & Investment Company (JOCIC) to give favourable rates to Chinese companies that use its routes between the UAE and China and who invest in a major Abu Dhabi industrial park.

The China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Park, in Khalifa Port, was the subject of a $300m deal with five Chinese companies via JOCIC last year.

Tony Douglas, Etihad Aviation Group's chief executive, said China was a “strategically important market for Etihad,” and that they were “extremely honoured” to form the partnership. 

The deals come as part of a wider “comprehensive strategic partnership” between the two nations, announced in a joint statement on Saturday as the Chinese president prepared to leave for the African leg of his foreign tour.

Xi met UAE vice president and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, and Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan on the visit. 

The UAE was “keen to deepen cooperation” with China's BRI plan, the statement said. 

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