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UAE eyes on lucrative Chinese market amid Euro debt crisis: minister

By Li Zhihui (Xinhua)

16:47, October 08, 2011

DUBAI, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- The United Arab Emirates, on its drive of economic diversification strategy, is keen to expand business relations with China which boasts a large population and growing market, a senior UAE official said.

The UAE investments, which are spread all over the world throughout the history, are based on such factors as market stability and level of return on a certain investment.

However, as concerns rise over the Euro debt crisis and the global debt crisis mainly in developed countries, investors are becoming more risk averse, which might shift investments towards the emerging markets, Minister of Foreign Trade Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi told Xinhua in an interview.

The large population of China and other Eastern countries as well as the growth in their markets make them a very attractive investment destination not only for the UAE investors but also for Americans and Europeans, Sheikha Lubna said.

During the past few years the second largest economy in the Arab world has implemented an aggressive diversification strategy to reduce its reliance on the oil revenues, using its strategic location, cost and market advantages allied with its status as an international business hub.

To diversify ties with the Chinese economy, the Ministry of Foreign Trade (MoFT) is supporting all initiatives that help in introducing the UAE private companies to the available investment and commercial opportunities in China, Sheikha Lubna said.

"Moreover, we are constantly on the lookout for new partnerships between Chinese and Emirati companies in various sectors," she said.

Manufacturing, financial services, environment, tourism, infrastructure, telecommunications and Islamic products, especially Halal food, are among the sectors in which a win-win relation can be built.

China is the second largest business partner of the UAE, with the two countries managing to maintain a high level of trade despite the 2008 global financial crisis and the current debt crisis in the West.

Asked about the obstacles to the development of the bilateral trade, Sheikha Lubna said there are no major problems. However, to achieve a more balanced trade the UAE is striving to increase exports from the UAE to China in the coming years, which will decrease the trade deficit that is present between the two countries.

The UAE sent a large delegation to an international trade and investment fair held in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in China in September to facilitate its private and national firms to engage in business and investment partnerships with Chinese companies. They also aimed at promoting UAE-made products in Asian and Chinese markets.

Headed by MoFT Undersecretary Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, UAE officials and representatives of companies from various sectors such as Adnoc, Borouge and Julphar formed the delegation to the event.

"This year the UAE delegation was larger than last year's event, " Sheikha Lubna said. "Our participation was a great success; we hope that this will have a positive impact on the trade relations between China and the UAE."

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