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New Silk Road has potential for global significance

(Xinhua)

08:18, August 24, 2012

DUBAI, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Many leading economists in Dubai believe that the growing ties between China and the oil-rich Gulf Arab states have the potential to expand further and to withstand global economic shocks.

When Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao paid a landmark state visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in January this year, the Gulf state's President H. H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said "The UAE has the sincere desire to bolster its relations of cooperation with China in pursuit of more progress and development in both countries and further stability in world economy."

Wen expressed the same hopes in exchange and urged his 200,000 compatriots who live in the UAE to respect local Arab culture and customs.

There are over 3,800 Chinese companies in the UAE, and the number is growing domestically and regionally at stop-watch speed.

WIN-WIN TIES

Economic ties between Beijing and Abu Dhabi, but also between the Gulf Arab countries as a whole, grew indeed at an impressive level in the last decade, with the total trade between China and the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which are Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, rising ten- fold to hit 100 billion U.S. dollars last year.

These new ties mean a win-win situation for both sides. China imports its urgently-needed oil from the GCC; in exchange, Beijing gains access to a fast-growing consumer market with "Made in China " products flooding into the GCC, whose total population stands at 47 million today and grows at 6 percent annually.

Due to the new East-Eastern axis, both sides gain a higher degree of independence from traditional trade routes with Europe and North America.

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