Business / Economy

UAE, China share dynamic vision for growth

By Sultan Al Jaber (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-23 11:09

The United Arab Emirates is founded on the principles of peace, tolerance, dialogue and openness towards other cultures. As a nation we are dedicated to building bridges and working with the international community to ensure economic prosperity and global stability. Our relationship with the People's Republic of China is an excellent example of our model for bilateral relations.

The official visit to China of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was a resounding success, not only as a celebration of the deep rooted friendship between our two nations, but also because of the diverse agreements that are set to take our economic and diplomatic partnership to the next level.

The centerpiece is a new $10 billion UAE-China joint investment fund, the largest bilateral fund of its kind. The fund provides a powerful springboard to launch long-term strategic investments that will create mutual benefits for both our peoples. In addition, the political, economic and security discussions that took place and the private sector partnerships that were forged deepened the economic and political ties between our two nations and will create more prosperity.

But if you look deeper at what binds the UAE and China, I believe that these opportunities are only possible thanks to one vital characteristic that the leaderships of the both nations possess - a clear and dynamic vision for economic development.

For the People's Republic of China and President Xi Jinping, this vision manifests itself in the Belt and Road Initiative, an important part of China's foreign and domestic growth policy vehicle. Announced in 2013, it focuses on facilitating trade, investment and diplomatic ties in Central Asia, South Asia, Africa and Europe, and on opportunities along the traditional Silk Road that has connected Arab and Chinese civilizations for centuries. It also includes initiatives such as the Asian Investment and Infrastructure Bank, of which the UAE is a founding partner.

And for the UAE, under the guidance of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, it is the long-term vision of economic diversification away from a reliance on hydrocarbons, and a commitment to creating a leading business, industrial and transportation hub that ideally positions us to be China's gateway to the Middle East and broader West Asian region.

If we focus on just the transportation aspect for a moment, 2014 saw Dubai International Airport overtake London Heathrow as the world's largest airport for international passenger traffic and the UAE is the only Gulf Cooperation Council country with a major container port (Jebel Ali) in the top 25 by container traffic. Supported by the growth of Abu Dhabi International Airport and Khalifa Port, the UAE will continue to cement its position as a leading regional logistics hub.

Bringing together these two compatible and mutually beneficial blueprints for economic growth and regional development will provide new and exciting avenues for the enhancement of trade and prosperity within our borders and across the region.

On a purely trade basis, this will ensure the sustained growth of a bilateral relationship which is expected to hit $60 billion this year.

But the fund, as well as the business-to-business agreements signed this week and those that will follow, will be the catalyst for the development and advancement of industrial sectors of mutual strategic interest for the UAE and China, such as conventional and renewable energy, infrastructure, technology and advanced manufacturing.

So as we look back at a visit which has harnessed the deep bonds of trust, understanding and respect between the UAE and China to further expand educational, societal and cultural exchange, I also look forward to seeing the fruits that will grow from the seeds of economic partnership that we have planted together.

The author is UAE minister of state.


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