China secures trade deals as Xi arrives in UAE
China and the United Arab Emirates yesterday announced oil and trade deals ahead of a state visit by President Xi Jinping to the Gulf state.
State-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co said it has awarded two contracts worth US$1.6 billion to BGP Inc, a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corp, for a seismic survey in the emirate.
The survey is to search for oil and gas in onshore and offshore sites covering an area of 53,000 square kilometers, the statement said. CNPC already has two concession rights contracts with ADNOC worth around US$3 billion.
The UAE’s state-owned DP World also announced an agreement by the two countries to build a new trade zone in Dubai.
The deal between the global port operator and the Zhejiang China Commodities City Group will see a “traders’ market” built at Dubai’s Jebel Ali free zone.
The project is part of the Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious plan to revive the ancient Silk Road trading routes with a global network of ports, roads and railways.
The new facility will cover 3 square km at the Jebel Ali site, which is the Middle East’s largest trade zone, DP World said in a statement. The market will host a vast range of goods from food and cosmetics to building materials and technology.
DP World, which operates in 40 countries, did not announce the value of the deal or provide a time frame for its construction.
Xi arrived in Abu Dhabi yesterday for a state visit to the UAE, the first by a Chinese head of state in 29 years to the Arab state.
During the visit, the two sides are expected to bolster cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative, production capacity, energy, agriculture and finance, and further promote their strategic partnership.
China is the UAE’s top trading partner, with non-oil trade in 2017 rising 15 percent year on year to over US$53.3 billion — more than 90 percent of it Chinese exports to the UAE, according to Abu Dhabi’s finance ministry.
The UAE is also one of the top 15 crude suppliers to China, exporting some US$4 billion worth of oil to China last year.
In a further sign of strengthening ties between the two countries, Dubai-based real estate developer Emaar Properties on Wednesday announced plans to build the Middle East’s largest Chinatown in the UAE.
Xi is carrying out a major diplomatic move from yesterday to July 28, paying state visits to the UAE, Senegal, Rwanda and South Africa, attending the 10th BRICS summit in Johannesburg, and visiting Mauritius during a stopover.
The overseas trip, his first after being re-elected Chinese president in March, is aimed at pushing for concerted efforts to further boost common development and improve global governance against the backdrop of profound changes in the international circumstances.
Xi’s visit to Senegal will be the first by a Chinese head of state in nine years and his first visit to a West African country. China is now Senegal’s second-largest trading partner and largest source of financing.
Xi’s Rwanda visit will be the first by a Chinese president. China is the largest trading partner of Rwanda.
Xi’s visit to South Africa will be his third state visit to the country. China is South Africa’s largest trading partner, and South Africa is China’s largest trading partner in Africa.
In Mauritius, the Chinese president and Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth will meet on ties and cooperation, as well as other international and regional issues of common concern.