The UAE’s leaders have said this week's “promising” visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the emirates as an “important step” in the economic, diplomatic and cultural relationship between the two countries.
Xi Jinping’s visit – his first to the UAE – comes as the country prepares to launch “UAE-China Week” between July 17 and 24, with the stated objective of highlighting the relationship between the two countries and enhancing trade cooperation.
According to UAE authorities, UAE-China Week will be celebrated every year to coincide with Chinese New Year celebrations.
“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,” said Sheikh Mohammed, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed noted that the UAE is currently home to 200,000 Chinese citizens and 4,000 trading companies.
“We seek to build long-term economic, cultural, trade and investment ties with China,” he added. “We are happy to celebrate China’s rich and continued historical culture on an annual basis.”
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said that China and the UAE play a “pivotal role” in stability and a promising economic future for the region.
“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 of more than three decades,” he said, adding that that country has political and economic impact on a global level.
During his visit, Xi Jinping is expected to hold a series of high-level meetings aimed at strengthening ties between the two countries, increasing trade and investment opportunities and expanding social and cultural exchange through a series of cultural and political seminars.
According to government statistics, the annual trade volume between the UAE and China has exceeded $50 billion, with the UAE representing 23 percent of Arab trade with China.
China’s top four banks have a presence in the UAE, and there are over 100 flights a week between the two countries. Additionally, the number of Chinese tourists rose 26 percent year-on-year in 2016 to 880,000.
According to the China Foreign Trade Centre, bilateral trade between the two countries is expected to reach $80 billion over the next two years.
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