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Guangdong province cited as a 'natural partner' for free trade zone in UAE

Updated: Sep 24, 2023 By JAN YUMUL in Hong Kong Print
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A group photo of the RAKEZ delegation during a meeting with Chinese enterprises, trade associations, and key government entities during their recent visit to Guangdong province in China. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A delegation from the United Arab Emirates' Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone found a "natural partner" in Guangdong province-based businesses at a roadshow aimed to boost trade and economic synergy between China and the Emirates.

The RAKEZ delegation hosted business forums across three major cities – Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Dongguan – highlighting the prospects of the growing Middle Eastern market to Chinese firms.

The forums allowed participants to understand the economic landscape and industry in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. The delegation engaged closely with local enterprises to further understand their plans for overseas ventures and investments, helping them identify potential areas of collaboration and creating effective foreign trade platforms for long-term bilateral business ties.

Among the trade associations that actively participated in the forums were the Guangzhou Association of Trade in Services, Shenzhen Electronics Industrial Association, and Shenzhen State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, according to a Sept 21 press release.

The Emirati delegation met with firms from key sectors including automotive, media equipment, energy, pharmaceuticals, security, IT, electronics, telecom, construction, finance, and e-commerce.

RAKEZ representatives also met with government entities like Dongguan Bureau of Commerce and Songshan Lake Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone.

RAKEZ Group CEO Ramy Jallad said the potential for business collaboration between Guangdong and Ras Al Khaimah was vast, spanning multiple sectors, and that a significant portion of RAKEZ companies play a pivotal role in advancing sustainability efforts in both Ras Al Khaimah and the wider UAE.

Jallad also said that as a foreign trade and export powerhouse in China, Guangdong "is a natural partner in this endeavor".

Given the strategic positioning of RAKEZ in an emirate that is "central to the UAE-China trade relationship", the sides were "aligned to leverage the UAE's expanding trade relationship with China" and amplify bilateral trade to $200 billion by 2030, he added.

Over the years, the UAE has emerged as one of China's most significant export markets and its second-largest trading partner in the Middle East. China stands as the UAE's largest trading partner, with the value of non-oil trade between the two countries exceeding $72 billion in 2022 – an 18 percent growth from $61 billion in 2021.

Thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative, numerous Chinese investors, particularly State-owned enterprises, have solidified their presence in the UAE, participating in key infrastructural projects encompassing ports, railroads, and highways.

Jallad said their goal is to show that Ras Al Khaimah is the right choice and the best place for Chinese businesses to grow. As a service provider, he said, they offer companies end-to-end services and value-added services, ensuring that everything is in place "so that investors can plug-and-play and focus on their business".

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