China, UAE sign raft of economic deals

The United Arab Emirates said it agreed to set up a "comprehensive strategic partnership" with China as President Xi Jinping wrapped up a three-day visit to the country Saturday.

Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed al-Maktoum, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan pose for a photo at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Friday.

The United Arab Emirates said it agreed to set up a “comprehensive strategic partnership” with China as President Xi Jinping wrapped up a three-day visit to the Gulf country on Saturday.

“The UAE and China have agreed to enhance cooperation in all fields to higher levels and forge overall strategic partnerships,” the official WAM news agency said, adding it would “contribute to cementing and intensifying cooperation, boost joint development and prosperity, which is consistent with the common interest of both countries and their peoples.”

China and the UAE had already signed a raft of economic agreements on Friday and in the run-up to Xi’s visit they agreed oil and trade deals.

Xi met UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai, and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

A joint statement by China and the UAE, published on Saturday by WAM, said the two countries were committed to bolster cooperation across the board, including politics, economy, oil, gas and security. There would also be joint military training, the two countries agreed.

The United Arab Emirates was “keen to deepen cooperation” with China’s “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure plan, the statement added. The ambitious trillion-dollar project aims to revive the ancient Silk Road trading routes with a global networks of ports, roads and railways.

On Thursday, the UAE’s state-owned DP World announced an agreement between the two countries to build a new trade zone in Dubai as part of that project.

A strategic cooperation framework between state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co and China National Petroleum Company was among the deals signed on Friday, the UAE company said.

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s state-owned Everbright Group (CEG), the DIFC said.

As the biggest free trade zone in the Middle East, DIFC said that CEG aims to explore collaboration opportunities related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The agreement will support the Group, which operates across banking, securities, insurance, funds, asset management, futures and investment management, expand its business across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, said DIFC.

The MoU was signed by Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, and Ge Haijiao, Deputy General Manager of CEG, following a meeting between Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, and Li Xiaopeng, chairman of CEG.

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