Dubai: Trade ties between the UAE and China are expected to strengthen further over the next five years, with a growth rate of 10 per cent year-on-year, according to Zhang Xijing, Chief Representative of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) in the Gulf.
Bilateral trade between the UAE and China grew from $3.8 billion (Dh13.9 billion) in 2003 to over $40 billion in 2012, Xijing said.
“For 2013, bilateral trade will be between $42 billion and $43 billion [approximately],” he added.
Xijing was speaking at China Homelife Dubai, a Chinese home products exhibition which opened on Tuesday and runs until Thursday at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Over 1,000 Chinese exhibitors, who are mostly small and medium enterprises, are showcasing more than 50,000 products.
Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Cooperation, told Gulf News that “China is one of the largest trading partners for the UAE, especially in goods and services. We have all the Chinese companies coming to the UAE [at the exhibition]; a lot of these companies get opportunities to be partners with furniture and home-style companies in the UAE. This is the fourth year. [The exhibition] has doubled up in terms of number of exhibitors, as well as the expected number of visitors coming in.”
Exhibitors said that Dubai is a gateway to other lucrative Gulf markets.
“Dubai is a mature market. There is huge demand for our products,” said Adam Gang, owner of Cool Silk Textile in Dubai, a manufacturer of textiles, which exports to the Gulf, Africa, Russia and Europe. Most of its UAE customers are wholesale companies.
Meanwhile, Jackie Zhang, manager of Shanghai Z&Z Arts and Crafts, a supplier of home appliances, said that the UAE accounts for “20 per cent” of the company’s global sales. The company is currently looking for distributors in neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
The UAE is China’s top export market in the Gulf. Among the most exported products to the UAE are electronics, home appliances, vehicles, building materials, machinery, industrial products and toys, according to Xijing.
“We import dates and agricultural products from the UAE,” he said.
A number of Chinese companies have established offices in the UAE, including furniture manufacturers and building materials processing companies, Zhang, the chief representative of the CCPIT, said.
“The investment environment in the UAE is flexible in terms of laws, he said. Meanwhile in China, UAE investors are investing in “hospitality and sea ports,” he added.