GULF NEWS - UAE MOST ACTIVE MIDEAST ECONOMY
(Pakistan & Gulf Economist Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday attended the opening session of the UAE-China Economic Council meeting in Shanghai. Welcoming Shaikh Mohammad to Shanghai, Dong Songgen, deputy chairman of the Chinese Trade Development and Promotion Centre, said the UAE's economy is one of the most active in the Middle East.
He said Shaikh Mohammad's wisdom and leadership has transformed Dubai into an important financial, commercial and tourism hub in the region. The UAE's developing economy provides great opportunities for Chinese investments, he added.
Addressing UAE and Chinese businessmen, Songgen said both econ-omies allow integration and will achieve greater co-operation in the future. The UAE is China's second-largest commercial partner in the region. Commercial exchanges between the two countries reached $20 billion in 2007, a 40 per cent increase over 2006, Songgen said. Salah Omair Al Shamsi, chairman of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said relations between the UAE and China have been outstanding since setting up diplomatic relations in 1984.
Relations were further cemented after the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan visited China in 1990, Al Shamsi added. Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, described UAE-Chinese relations as strategic. "The success of the UAE's economy is a result of the country's economic policies and investment atmosphere, which allows national companies to become multinational companies that seek foreign investments from all countries, including China." she said.
Deputy-Mayor of Shanghai Tang Deng Jie informed the gathering that Shanghai's gross domestic product reached 1.2 trillion yuan in 2007 and is expected to grow at the rate of 10 per cent in the first quarter of this year. Shanghai has become an advanced navigation hub besides being a financial and commercial centre, Jie said. There are thousands of companies from 132 countries working in the city, with total investments of $75 million, as well as dozens of multi-national companies operating from Shanghai.
The vice-mayor pointed out that a quarter of China's total product comes from Shanghai city.
"Shanghai is working on four critical fields. The first is adhering to the reformation policy, international cooperation and openness in the fields of service, industry and technology, as well as benefiting from foreign investment," Jie said.
"The second is benefiting from foreign investments and using advanced technologies, while the third is supporting foreign trade, developing the city's financial and commercial centre and increasing its exports. "The fourth is encouraging Chinese companies to expand internationally and become multi-national companies," he added.
Shaikh Mohammad attended the signing of a number agreements between UAE firms and Chinese partners. Ahmad Julfar, CEO of etisalat, also signed an MoU with a Chinese telecommunications company. Shaikh Mohammad also received Wang Youpeng, Governor of Hangu District. They explored pros-pects of joint cooperation and exchange of expertise between Dubai and the Chinese tourist destination, which attracts around 40 million holidaymakers a year.
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