Bian Zhenhu, president of the China Chamber of Commerce for Foodstuff and Native Produce, led the Chinese delegation, and highlighted the upcoming International Food Exhibition, to be held in Beijing in November.
As well as diplomats, the delegation included Chinese businesspeople and investors working in the food industry.
Exposure and access
Zhenhu said the China Chamber of Commerce was keen to facilitate the entry of UAE food products into the Chinese market, and invited UAE enterprises to benefit from the exposure of the International Food Exhibition.
Jouma'a Al Kit, assistant under-secretary for foreign trade at the UAE Ministry of Economy, said: “China is a global leader in agricultural production and the UAE seeks to benefit from the Chinese experience in this sector. Our forthcoming participation in the International Food Exhibition will allow the UAE government and our private sector companies to access latest industry developments and technological innovations.”
Along with Al Kit, the UAE delegation included Nasser Hamdan Al Zaabi, director of the investment promotion department at the Ministry of Economy, and Abdul Salam Al Ali, director of foreign trade policy.
$40bn trading partner
China is the UAE's second-largest trading partner behind India, with total trade between the two countries estimated at US$40bn in 2013, a 15% increase year-on-year. As well as being a significant market in the Gulf in its own right, the UAE is also a major re-exporter of Chinese goods, to the Middle East and beyond, making it a key regional entry-point for Chinese products.
And as it continues to industrialise, China's food imports are forecast to climb significantly in the coming years, making it an increasingly important market for food exporting nations, and re-exporters. By 2030 China will import approximately one-third of all internationally traded food products, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.
“China is one of the most important trading partners of the UAE. Balance of trade between the two countries stood at US$17.4bn at the end of 2012. The same period also recorded 73 Chinese commercial enterprises and 356 commercial agencies in the UAE. A total of 2,483 trademarks were registered with the Ministry of Economy. This strong presence underscores the depth of the business relationship shared by the two countries,” said Al Kit.