Dubai and China's Hangzhou sign MoU to bolster trade relations
The agreement between officials from Dubai and the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou signals the next stage in growing trade relations following a visit to the Far Eastern country made earlier this year by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. A top official from Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry told Emirates Business the MoU is an indication that the move towards tighter trade relations between the two countries does not end with Sheikh Mohammed's visit to China.
"There is lots of potential for business communities on both sides. We're certain that by signing this agreement with Hangzhou city, we'll be able to work much closer between Asia and Dubai, and that in return will have a positive impact on the business community and the economy of Dubai," said Hassan Al Hashemi, director of external relations at Dubai Chamber, speaking on the sidelines of the Dubai-Hangzhou Economic Co-operation Forum.
Al Hashemi did not disclose how much trade between the two countries is expected to grow by following the agreement between Dubai and Hangzhou, which have both witnessed transformations in the economies in recent years.
However, he said: "The non-oil trade between the UAE and China is about $19 billion (Dh69bn). We're well aware Hang Zhou is one of the most-rapidly growing cities in China and it brings great opportunities to Dubai businessmen."
Hisham Al Shirawi, second vice-chairman of Dubai Chamber, said the move is expected to significantly expand non-oil transactions between the UAE and China, which is the second largest business partner for Dubai.
Non-oil sectors comprised 95 per cent of Dubai's $37bn gross domestic product last year, Al Hashemi said. The emirates's non-oil foreign trade reached $185bn in 2007, up 33 per cent from $139bn the year before.
Chinese investment in the UAE currently stands at $300 million, while the UAE's total investments in China are estimated at $1bn.
Al Hashemi said the construction and tourism industries in Hangzhou are key and present the most investment opportunities for Dubai investors.
Hangzhou has been ranked as the number one city for investment in China and eighth among the 659 Chinese cities. The city has seen double-digit growth in its GDP consecutively over the past 17 years, according to Li Ling, director of the Hangzhou Municipal Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation Bureau.