A high-level joint business and professional mission from China and Hong Kong congregated in Dubai for a two-day business programme that focused on cooperation and investment opportunities in the UAE.
The mission, co-organised by the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, comprised some 70 investors and services professionals from the Mainland China and Hong Kong. Delegates include those with an interest and expertise in the areas of finance, consultancy, architecture, energy, civil engineering and construction, legal and accounting, transportation and logistics, and various other sectors.
The mission’s official programme started with the signing of an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) between the UAE and Hong Kong, marking a milestone of economic cooperation between the two places.
Led by Sun Tong, Director-General, Department of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs, Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, the delegation met with senior officials from the Ministry of Economy of the UAE, the Department of Economic Development of the Government of Dubai and the Dubai Investment Development Agency to learn more the latest development and opportunities in the country. The delegates also visited the Jebel Ali Free Zone and the site of Expo 2020 Dubai and met with various local companies to explore the potential for cooperation.
Stephen Liang, Assistant Executive Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), which is a supporting organisation of the mission, highlighted Hong Kong’s role as the bridge connecting Mainland China with the rest of the world, including the Middle East, with about 60 per cent of the mainland’s outbound investments going to or through Hong Kong.
“Hong Kong is a provider of quality services to underpin Belt and Road-related developments. These include the financing of infrastructure and construction projects, and the provision of a range of professional services − including due diligence, accounting and insurance, project management, risk management and dispute resolution,” Mr Liang said.
The HKTDC set up its regional office in Dubai in 2000 to promote Hong Kong’s business relations in the UAE and the broader Middle East region and provide more structured services to the business community. The HKTDC’s international trade fairs, conferences and other business events throughout the year support hundreds of companies from Dubai and the UAE in growing their businesses in the Asian and world markets.
Robust trade links between Hong Kong and the UAE have been in place for many years, with the city exporting goods worth more than US$6 billion to the emirates in 2018, and importing goods valued at more than US$4 billion. From a Mainland China perspective, the UAE is increasingly seen as a sound place for investment, spurred by the growing number of Belt and Road projects in this region. The mainland’s cumulative foreign direct investment in the UAE amounted to almost US$5.4 billion at the end of 2017, with a lot more projects in the pipeline.