Abu Dhabi’s robust economic performance in the years prior the global financial crisis, and how, following the very healthy growth of all sectors in 2010, it is expected to experience 4.5% growth rate in GDP this year, was the centre stage of Abu Dhabi Investment Forum in China, which was attended by more than 600 senior officials and businessmen from the Chinese Tianjin.
Inaugurating this Forum, HE Nasser Al Suwaidi, the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED), said, “The retreat of international direct investment level in the last two years owing to the financial crisis notwithstanding, the recent report by Financial Times on spectrum of foreign investment in 2011 highlights that Abu Dhabi was the Middle East second most attractive city for direct foreign investments in 2010, totaling AED 2.7 billion.”
HE stated that there promising signs for prosperity and more positive future in the light of noticeable capability of Abu Dhabi to bolster the business of goods transport and success to promote its development projects in the international markets.
“As part of its endevours to promote a robust, dynamic and foreign investment favourable environment integrated with the global economy, DED is working to promote the role of Abu Dhabi’s Competitiveness Bureau with an aim to bolster positive and growing ties with businessmen and investors whilst helping drive the economic welfare and positive performance as per the international competitiveness indexes”, HE explained.
The UAE is the second largest trade partner to China within the GCC, and the largest market for the Chinese exports in the Arab world. Non-oil trade exchange between both countries went up from $7.2 billion in 2005 to $13.4 billion in 2009. Trade exchange of non-oil products between Abu Dhabi and China grew from $266 million to $956 million during the same period.
“The UAE has in current years paid huge interest to boost investment ties with China in various sectors such as finance, real estate, and construction, leading the UAE’s investment in China to grow to $220 million. Besides, the UAE tops Arab Countries in attracting Chinese investments with forecasts showing that there are 3000 companies operating in the UAE in multiple sectors such as real estate, construction, trade, services, and tourism”, HE said.
“This Forum is an ideal platform to boost ties between Abu Dhabi and China whilst highlighting prospects of mutual cooperation in key and strategic sectors, fuelled by the huge interest of companies, financiers, and businessmen from both sides to foster more trade relations”, HE said.
HE also shared that Abu Dhabi could benefit from the development experience of China and its status as one of the leading global economies, given the role of Abu Dhabi as a key exporter for oil to China with plans that China might benefit from the UAE as a trade gate to outreach the Middle East. “70% of Chinese exports to the UAE are for re-export to neighbouring countries”, HE stressed.
“Abu Dhabi’s Government is committed to attaining a diversified economy conceptualized by its 2030 Economic Vision that calls for optimizing non-oil sectors, especially the industry, to back up the economy whilst attracting more foreign investments in aluminum, iron, steel, glass, minerals, plastics, petrochemicals, and some heavy industries that have been decided as motivating the industrial sectors”, Al Suwaidi told delegates.
According to the DED’s Chairman, those industries help provide an excellent opportunity for positive cooperation between Abu Dhabi and China, given that Abu Dhabi currently has Emal, one of the largest aluminum smelters while China imports 1.4 million metric tonnes annually since 2009 as the local production falls short of meeting the growing demands of manufacturing.
HE also brought into centre stage how the Chinese companies can benefit from investment opportunities provided by Abu Dhabi for manufacturing companies, notably in the aluminum sector, as the Emirate’s overall strategy to develop this sector focuses on industrial clusters attained by attracting investments operating in aluminum alloys, which will benefits from the facilities provided by Khalifa Industrial Zone, Kizad.
“By joining forces, we can attain our joint interests. We have to agree on the need of investments scope and joint ventures, which should be the cornerstone for our mutual relations”, HE concluded.
HE Oman Al Bittar, the UAE’s ambassador to China, stressed in this speech at the Forum on the friendly relationships between both countries. “I look forwards that this event will help achieve its objectives of boosting trade exchange and investment agreements that help fuel the two countries’ economies”.
Abu Dhabi Forum in China has four sessions: the first two were for the Chinese companies to present investment opportunities, introduce leading companies in Tianjin, and the possibility of reaching trade partnerships with a number of investors form Abu Dhabi. The third and fourth sessions, allocate for Abu Dhabi, are to present the achievements of the Government such as mega development projects aimed to attract more foreign investments and joint partnerships for the benefits of both parties.
A number of key entities from Abu Dhabi took part in those sessions, including Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, ADX, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones, Kizad, Department of Transport, Abu Dhabi Port Company, Etihad Rail, ADNOC, Masdar, Abu Dhabi Airports Company and Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.