ABU DHABI, 16th May, 2016 (WAM) – Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, is leading the UAE trade and economic delegation to the Belt and Road Summit, which will be held in Hong Kong from 18th – 19th May.

The delegation includes Juma Al Kait, Assistant Under-Secretary for Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Economy; Saed Al Awadi, CEO of Dubai Export Development Corporation; Hani Rashid Al Hamli, Secretary-General of the Dubai Economic Council; Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai Investment Development Agency, Jamal Al Jarwan, Secretary-General of UAE Companies Investing Abroad Council, along with a number of senior local and federal officials and representatives from the private sector.

The summit will address ways to achieve the development goals and increase investment opportunities offered by the new Silk Road and economic belt launched by the Chinese president in 2013.

On the side-lines of the visit, the Minister of Economy will hold a number of meetings with senior officials of the Hong Kong and the Chinese governments.

Al Mansouri said the UAE attaches great importance to enhancing existing economic, trade and investment partnerships with Hong Kong and China. He referred to many common economic factors shared by the UAE and Hong Kong that play an influential role at the levels of trade and capital movement, as well as business worldwide.

He added that the UAE has strong ties with both China and Hong Kong in the light of the common desire of the governments to work for the mutual benefit of the two friendly peoples.

The UAE minister said that the trade exchange between the two sides is witnessing sustained growth since the UAE is the largest trading partner of Hong Kong in the Middle East. He added that about 60 percent of China’s exports to the region pass through the UAE.

Al Mansouri pointed out that trade between the UAE and Hong Kong saw remarkable growth over the past years, as the foreign non-oil trade between them rose from $5.8 billion in 2011 to $15.9 billion by the end of 2015. This reflects the increasing growth witnessed in bilateral trade and economic co-operation in light of the strong ties between the two sides, he added.

He stressed the importance of the economic belt initiative and the Silk Road launched by China recently, which will have a direct impact on the promotion of international trade and opening up of opportunities for the development of economic co-operation among over 60 countries across the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Africa.

Al Mansouri noted that the UAE is interested in this initiative by joining the Asian Bank for Investment in infrastructure to contribute effectively in future projects.

He added that companies in Hong Kong could harness promising opportunities at the UAE market, especially in the strategic sectors slated for transformation into knowledge, sustainable, innovative and technology-based economy.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is designed to enhance the orderly free-flow of economic factors and the efficient allocation of resources by expanding business co-operation between East and West, from Asia to Europe via Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia and the Middle East. The “Belt” and “Road” refer to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, respectively. The initiative offers companies unparalleled opportunities to tap into new markets and explore the tremendous potential of the Chinese mainland, ASEAN countries and many other economies along the Belt and Road.