His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, have welcomed the milestone visit of President Xi Jinping of China, at the head of a large delegation to further advance ties across trade, culture and technological cooperation between the two countries.
In recognition of this important visit, the UAE announced the launch of 'UAE-China Week', which runs from 17th to 24th July, with the aim to place a spotlight on the bilateral relations between the two nations, and to enhance trade cooperation and cultural exchange. The UAE will celebrate UAE-China Week annually, coinciding with Chinese New Year celebrations.
In a statement, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said, "We welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping in this historic visit that celebrates the strategic partnership between the two countries and establishes a new phase of fruitful cooperation and promising outlooks."
"The UAE currently hosts 200,000 Chinese citizens and 4,000 trading companies," His Highness said, adding that the UAE is the largest trading partner of China in the region.
"We seek to build long-term economic, cultural, and trade and investment ties with China," Sheikh Mohammed continued.
Highlighting the strong economic and cultural ties with China, His Highness noted, "We are happy to celebrate China's rich and continued historical culture on an annual basis."
For his part, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said, "The People's Republic of China and the United Arab Emirates play a pivotal role in the stability of the region and its economic future."
"Over 28 years ago, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan visited China, founding the strategic relationship between the two countries that has yielded fruitful trade and investment as well as cultural relations for more than three decades," His Highness noted.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed went on to say that China is an international commercial giant with a global political weight playing an active role in stabilising the global economy and attaining peace and security.
Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the UAE includes a series of high-level meetings aimed at strengthening ties between the countries, increasing trade and investment opportunities, and expanding social and cultural exchange through a series of cultural and political seminars, including a symposium on the prospects of UAE-China relations.
Recent years have witnessed a rapid growth in the UAE-China economic partnerships, with the annual trade volume between the two countries exceeding US$50 billion, making the UAE for successive years the second largest trading partner of China in the world.
The UAE is also China's largest partner in the Arab region, with 23 percent of the volume of Arab trade with China being acquired by the UAE. The UAE has more than 4,000 registered Chinese companies and 200,000 Chinese residents, while the number of Chinese tourists to the UAE rose 26 percent year-on-year in 2016 to 880,000.
China's top four banks are also located across various branches in the UAE, and there are 100 flights a week between the UAE and China. Bilateral trade between the two nations is expected to grow to $80 billion over the next two years, according to the China Foreign Trade Centre.
The bilateral diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates and the People's Republic of China were launched on 1st November 1984, and the UAE Embassy headquarters opened in Beijing in March 1987.
Official visits by the two nations' representatives and leaders began with the then Chinese President Yang Shangkun in December 1989, while the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan visited Beijing in May 1990. The late ruler's visit was the first of its kind carried out by a head of state from the GCC countries to China.
In 2008, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid made an important visit to China during which he met with senior officials, and held several meetings across Beijing and Shanghai. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed made successive visits in 2009, 2012 and 2015, culminating in the signing of a number of bilateral agreements between the two countries.
The UAE and China hold strong bonds governed by a series of agreements and memoranda of understanding, most notably an agreement on economic, trade, and technological cooperation in 1985 as well as the establishment of a Joint Commission of Economic, Trade and Technical Cooperation. The two countries also signed an agreement on the protection of investment and an agreement on avoidance of double taxation were signed between the two countries in 1993, among others.