ABU DHABI/ WAM
The China-UAE bilateral trade has overcome the negative impacts of the global pandemic for almost two consecutive years, a top Chinese diplomat told Emirates News Agency (WAM).
The bilateral trade during the first nine months of 2021 has exceeded the value of US$49 billion, a 38.1 percent increase compared to the same period in the previous year, revealed Ni Jian, Chinese Ambassador to the UAE.
The trend was almost the same during the first three quarters of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, he said in an exclusive interview at his residence in Abu Dhabi.
“This demonstrates the resilience and vitality of the bilateral economic and trade cooperation. The UAE remains China’s largest export market and the second largest trading partner in the Arab region. With the interlocking of development strategies of the two countries, I believe that the prospects for China-UAE economic and trade cooperation will be broader,” Jian affirmed.
“The UAE is the largest investment destination of China in the Arab world. In 2020, Chinese non-financial direct investment flows to the UAE in 2020 was valued at $570 million, accounting for more than 47 percent of the total Chinese investment in the Arab world,” the envoy added.
However the value of stock of Chinese direct investments was not readily available with him.
More than 6,000 Chinese firms have developed business in the UAE, involving energy, ports, infrastructure, communications, finance, and other sectors, he said. “The two countries have great potential and broad prospects for cooperation in the fields of new energy, high and new technology, green economy, and digital economy,” the ambassador asserted.
“China-UAE vaccine cooperation has always been at the forefront of the world,” Jian stressed.
Life sciences and vaccine manufacturing project is progressing smoothly and becoming a new platform of practical cooperation between the two countries, he said, referring to the joint project established between the UAE’s Group 42 and China National Pharmaceutical Group, under an agreement signed during the visit of Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the UAE in March this year.
The ambassador said he recently visited the vaccine factory jointly established by the two countries in the Khalifa Industrial Zone in Abu Dhabi. “I was very much impressed to see the construction in full swing and the factory buildings springing up. It is believed that in the near future the two countries will achieve more results of cooperation.”
The envoy, who has been serving in the UAE for more than five years, has felt the global pandemic has been the most serious challenge during his tenure here. “However, it has opened opportunities as well for both countries.”
Although he has been a diplomat in the Middle East for some time, the UAE offered him a completely different experience.
“This country’s very unique with a policy of openness and tolerance, and hosting people of all different religions and nationalities to stay here to have a better life, for the past 50 years.”
The ambassador said the high-level exchanges between the two countries are the most important thing in China-UAE political relations.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, had successful mutual state visits [in 2018 and 2019 respectively] reached a number of important consensus and made it clear that developing China-UAE relations is a “fundamental task crucial for generations to come.” They promoted the bilateral relations to the best-ever in history, the envoy emphasised.
Guided by the important consensus of Chinese and UAE leaders, both countries have deepened the political and strategic mutual trust, supported each other on issues related to each other’s core interests and major concerns, and cooperated closely on multilateral forums, reflecting the high level of China-UAE comprehensive strategic partnership, Jian stressed.
Educational, cultural, and people-to-people ties have also witnessed huge progress. “Chinese language teaching in the UAE has achieved remarkable results. It is expected that 142 UAE public schools will offer Chinese courses within this year,” he said.
The UAE had announced introducing the Chinese language in the education curricula in August 2019 following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed during the state visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to China in July 2019.
“Our two beautiful countries are celebrating two historic occasions this year,” the ambassador pointed out.
China is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party and the UAE the 50th anniversary of its founding. “So, this is a beautiful coincidence.”
The third important event is Expo 2020, he pointed out. “Then we will have Winter Olympics in Beijing next year. Through these events, two countries can have better cooperation in all fields, which will enable both peoples to enjoy a better life.”