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Chinese firms bank on Dubai as a Mideast hub amid rising demand

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-02-28 11:15

DUBAI - Dubai is the ideal distribution channel to reach out to buyers across the Middle East and Africa, said some Chinese food and beverages firms here on Monday.

The firms praised the sheikhdom's geographical location and its connectivity through ports and airports, as they attend the ongoing Gulfood 2018 fair and exhibition.

"The Middle East is the biggest market outside China," said Linda Zhou, sales manager at Tianyuan Canned Food. She had been exhibiting at the Middle East's biggest annual food and beverage fair for many years.

"Dubai is the gateway to the entire region. We export our canned beans, tomato pasta and sweet corn not only to the Gulfood host country but also to Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iraq," she said.

Earlier on Saturday, the world's biggest provider of trade-related credit insurance solutions Euler Hermes said in a media release that Saudi Arabia has a 59 percent market share in the Middle Eastern food and beverage market, while the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to which the emirate of Dubai belongs, has a 21 percent share.

Mike Qian, director at Jiangsu Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Group from Nanjing, China's Jiangsu province, said that it is worth coming back to the Gulfood, which attracted 5,000 exhibitors from 120 countries.

"There is a constant flow of new businessmen, traders and buyers for food to the annual event, so we can always expand our client base and present new food products at our booth," he said.

Dubai international airport defended in 2016 its position as the world's biggest civil aviation hub in relation to international travelers, welcoming 83.6 million passengers. Jafza has 7,000 registered firms, while the Dubai's biggest free zone DMCC has more than 12,000 from across the globe.

Jules Kappeler, CEO of Euler Hermes Middle East in Dubai, said the UAE imports more than 80 percent of its food needs, while demand for food and beverage is also on the rise.

In the first half of 2016, China remained Dubai's primary trading partner with a bilateral exchange worth 21.52 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Dubai Customs.

Figures show that China has been Dubai's biggest trade partner since 2014.

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