UAE’s largest free trade zone preps for deals on President Xi’s visit

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China’s president Xi Jinping will pay an anticipated official visit on Thursday to the biggest free trade zone in the United Arab Emirates on his tour in the region.

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre has high expectations for Xi’s visit and intentions to vigorously support China’s Belt and Road initiative, Gautam Sashittal, chief executive of the DMCC told Yicai Global.

This will be the first tour to the UAE by a Chinese head of state in 29 years, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou said at a media briefing on July 13. President Xi will continue his tour to the African countries of Senegal, Rwanda, and South Africa in the next days until July 24.

The two parties are expected sign cooperation agreements regarding production capacity, energy, agriculture, finance, customs, scientific research, and humanities.

Over 300 Chinese firms have registered in the DMCC so far, and the number has increased at a steady annual rate of 46 percent over the last five years. The bilateral economic cooperation has seen vibrant growth, especially after the signing of the agreement to set up the UAE-China Joint Investment Fund, Sashittal said. Founded in 2015, the USD10 billion joint fund investments in energy, renewables, and technology.

China’s and the UAE’s bilateral trade volume hit USD52 billion last year with a growth rate of 15 percent in comparison to that of the year before.

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