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Agreement to help Abu Dhabi win more BRI business

By Liu Zhihua | China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-06 09:58
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The Belt & Road Brand Expo in Shanghai, June 30, 2018. [Photo/IC]

Abu Dhabi Ports and Jiangsu Overseas Cooperation Investment Co Ltd (JOCIC) have signed a five-year agreement with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which is expected to facilitate Chinese companies operating at Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD), Abu Dhabi's integrated trade, logistics, industrial and free zone, to further tap business opportunities in Belt and Road Initiative related economies.

Abu Dhabi Ports, the operator and manager of the emirate's commercial and community ports, operates 11 ports and terminals across the United Arab Emirates and abroad, as well as KIZAD, and the agreement reiterates the strategic position played by the emirate to the major trade hubs related with the BRI.

The three organizations will work together to simplify application processes for services ranging from foreign exchange to financial consultancy and project finance, including speeding up the processing of documents, such as those used to grant land rights within KIZAD, according to the agreement.

"Abu Dhabi's strategic location and commitment to the BRI has placed the emirate in an advantageous position on the global trade map. Improving the ease of doing business in the emirate for both our current and future clients is a top priority for Abu Dhabi Ports," said Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, who is chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports, chairman of the Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, and a member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

"Our agreement with ICBC is another successful achievement of these efforts, since navigating finance and banking can be a major obstacle for firms looking to enter into a new market," he said.

ICBC becomes a preferred banking partner of Abu Dhabi Ports and JOCIC under the agreement.

The three organizations will also facilitate meetings between companies and the bank, to help it tailor its portfolio of products and services to individual needs, making it quicker and easier for companies to start up in KIZAD.

In addition, ICBC will raise awareness of KIZAD with clients in China and across other markets.

Previously, as part of the UAE's support for the BRI and its aim to attract more trade and investment to Abu Dhabi, the 2.2-square-kilometer China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone was established last year at KIZAD under a 50-year agreement.

Wang Bin, chairman of JOCIC, said the UAE is an important platform for Chinese enterprises looking to enter Europe and Africa, and a critical gateway through which European and African enterprises can explore the Chinese market.

"We are proud to be helping Chinese enterprises grow their businesses overseas efficiently and effectively through the demonstration zone at KIZAD," Wang said.

Zhou Lisha, a researcher at the research institute of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, said the five-year agreement of the three organizations is helpful to facilitate Chinese companies to operate in KIZAD, especially with related financial support and services.

She also said BRI helps related economies benefit from China's financial and technological advantages in the infrastructure sector, and Chinese companies' overseas investments have extended to sectors such as technology, real estate, agriculture and healthcare, from only to energy and mining in the past.

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