Dubai: Prospects for two-way trade between the UAE and China remain bright despite a cloud of gloomy global economic sentiment cast by Washington’s trade war with Beijing, according to HSBC UAE CEO Abdul Fattah Sharaf.
“The fast-paced trade growth between China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a standout example of what can happen when countries collaborate,” Sharaf said, report agencies.Bilateral trade between the two countries hit $53 billion last year, a 17 per cent increase on 2017, and is forecast to double over the next decade.
“That this is happening at a time of rising trade tensions and protectionism elsewhere in the world is a true indication of what can happen in an environment that supports inward investment, entrepreneurship and is focused on the future. We are seeing results across a wide range of sectors,” Sharaf said on the sidelines of “The Future of Trade: The Middle East Pivots to Asia” conference.
Chinese property investors are now among the top four foreign nationalities who invest in the Emirate of Dubai. According to industry research, the UAE saw a 245 per cent increase in Chinese tourists in the third quarter of last year and double-digit annual growth is forecast until 2022, and the number of UAE businesses seeking to expand into China is also an upward trend.
HSBC’s Navigator: Made for China survey says that nearly half of UAE businesses already doing business with China plan to grow sales there in the next three to five years. A further 10 per cent of UAE companies yet to enter the Chinese market will prioritise expansion in the country.
“The attraction of the UAE is not surprising. Ambitious economic transformation agendas are driving the diversification and development of economies across the Middle East, creating millions of new jobs and new consumers with new wealth to invest and spend. The UAE is at the forefront of this shift,” Sharaf said.
What makes it more promising still is that the UAE is a key connection point for China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), he added.