DIFC Aims to Further Increase Growing Commercial Ties Between the Middle East and China

The Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) today co-hosts the ‘China-Middle East Investment Forum: Building a Bridge of Investment between China and the Middle East’ with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Institutional Investor magazine. The conference aims to discuss the burgeoning economic ties between China and the Middle East.

The Forum will involve several high-profile Chinese policy makers and companies with the Middle East's leading investors, financial intermediaries and businesses.

Trade between the two regions has doubled to $240billion since 2000 with the UAE representing China’s largest partner with bilateral trade reaching $14.2billion in 2006. Trade flows are expected to increase when Free Trade Agreement negotiations are finalised this year and banks are predicting that GCC states will invest as much as $250 billion in Asia, mainly China, over the next five years. Dragon Mart in Dubai is said to be the largest Chinese trading hub outside China and it is estimated that more than 1000 Chinese companies are doing business in the UAE.

The conference looks to examine these growing ties and how to further develop them in the future. Over two days, representatives from the Middle East and China will speak on and discuss topics such as increasing opportunities in energy and power between the two regions as well as infrastructure projects and the growth in mergers and acquisitions.

Governor of the DIFC, HE Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman, Dr Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist, DIFC Authority and David Eldon, Chairman of the Board, DIFC Authority will all be speaking at the conference. Dr Bin Sulaiman will give the opening address, Dr Nasser will Chair the panel on ‘The Year Ahead for China and Middle East: An Economic Outlook and Mr. Eldon will give the keynote address in the afternoon session: ‘The China-Middle East Relationship: Rosy Prospects, Forgotten Hazards.’ Vice Chairman of the Board, Executive Director and President of the ICBC, Yang Kaisheng, will give the keynote address in the morning. Speakers from Deutsche Bank, Ernst&Young, HSBC and Merrill Lynch will also be presenting.

HE Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman said: “Dubai and the DIFC are in an excellent position to really help develop economic ties between the Middle East region and China. While energy trade between the two regions is very strong, this is only one of many areas where there are future opportunities for increased investments.  We at the DIFC have the expertise and infrastructure to take advantage of the opportunities that have been presented by the growing areas for cooperation and investment between the China and the region. We welcome all the speakers from China to Dubai and look forward to learning about and developing the opportunities going forward.”

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