Abu Dhabi Global Market, the emirate’s financial free zone, signed a cooperation agreement with the Beijing Financial Street Services Bureau, another financial centre, as part of the UAE’s commitment to China’s $5 trillion-plus “belt and road” initiative.
“By strengthening its collaboration with the Chinese government and relevant enterprises, ADGM is able to better cater to the investment and financing needs of the China market and serve as the Belt-and-Road centre for the Middle East and Africa region,” the free zone said in a statement on Saturday.
The agreement signed on September 6 between ADGM chief executive Richard Teng and Mr Li Yi, the deputy district mayor of Xicheng District People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, aims to promote the development of financial centres in both countries and increase industry engagements as part of the belt and road initiative. Other areas of cooperation include investment facilitation, joint research on relevant areas and collaboration on major belt and road investment and financing projects in Beijing and Abu Dhabi.
Launched in 2013 as “One Belt, One Road”, the initiative involves China underwriting billions of dollars of infrastructure investment in countries located along the old Silk Road linking it with Europe. China is spending around $150bn per year in the 72 countries that have signed up to the scheme. All of the six GCC countries, including the UAE, have signed up.
China is the UAE’s biggest trading partner, with UAE-China bilateral trade crossing $35bn in the first nine months of 2017. The two countries are seeking increased economic collaboration since the UAE introduced visa-on-arrival for Chinese tourists last year and China reciprocated at the start of 2018. The UAE received Chinese President Xi Jinping on a three-day state visit in July.
The Dubai International Financial Centre, or DIFC, is also increasing efforts to engage China on investment strategies. In May, DIFC Courts said it signed an early-stage agreement with the University of Oxford to research legal and contract issues hindering Arabian Gulf and other investment in the belt and road.
The Beijing Financial Street Services Bureau represents organisations including the People’s Bank of China, China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission and the China Securities Regulatory Commission.