Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, Dubai's biggest free zone by number of companies, signed an agreement with Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone to allow more Chinese companies to set up and trade locally within the UAE.
The agreement, signed on the sidelines of the China-UAE Conference on Islamic Banking and Finance, would also boost bilateral ties between the two countries, DMCC said in a statement.
“The Chengdu partnership will help Chinese companies enter the UAE market and build a foothold to expand trade locally and regionally. Crucially, the partnership will also serve to strengthen the increasingly important UAE-China bilateral trade ties,” said Sanjeev Dutta, executive director for commodities and financial services at DMCC.
Chengdu hi-tech zone, which is home to the research centres of global giants such as Tencent Holdings and Siemens, is a technology park that has become known for nurturing many of China's so-called 'unicorn' companies (privately-owned start-ups with a valuation of over $1 billion). Officials said that they are hoping to attract such companies to the UAE market through the partnership.
DMCC, which has close to 500 Chinese member companies, has been lobbying extensively to attract high-growth Chinese firms to its fold and tap into trade flows emanating from China’s Belt and Road initiative. In June last year, the free zone signed agreements with the Hangzhou China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and the Department of Commerce of Shandong Province in Qingdao as part of a roadshow in China, the world's second-largest economy.
Trade between China and Dubai reached Dh139 billion in 2018, making it the Emirate's top trading partner. On a country level, trade between the UAE and China is also expected to boom to Dh257bn by 2020 as investments between the countries gain pace, according to a previous statement by DMCC.