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May 8, 2008

Events drive closer UAE-China trade relations

Following last week's historic four-day visit to China by vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, leading organiser and venue manager of the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) has announced a targeted strategy to enhance business opportunities by providing stronger trade platforms to the world's second-largest economy.

Last year, DWTC welcomed over one million business visitors to its venues and has long been a key alliance partner for Chinese business groups looking to tap opportunities in new markets. In fact, 2007 saw one of the largest congregations of China-based companies in the Middle East, when the DWTC hosted Global Sources' inaugural China Sourcing Fair in Dubai, which drew suppliers from across the Greater China region.

China continues to play a significant role in trade events that are focused on priority sectors for Dubai, such as Big 5 for Construction, Arab Health for Medical and Pharmaceuticals, Gulfood for the Food Industry and GITEX Technology Week, which is the region's largest technology event.

In 2008, DWTC is scheduled to host the second edition of Global Sources' China Sourcing Fair in Dubai, at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) from 9-11 June. Executives anticipate the event to be 80% larger than last year, reflecting the huge interest in bilateral trade between the two economies.

"The UAE and China have fostered strong trade relations and the range of the import and export product base is not only expanding rapidly, but also becoming increasingly diverse,” said the DWTC’s director general Helal Almarri. “The exhibitions and events sector is a key facilitator that provides the ideal networking platform to strengthen these commercial links between the two countries. I see DWTC as being able to contribute significantly to developing new business partnerships with China, and our strategy will focus on extending the range of available opportunities to network with Chinese organisations in 2008, aligned with the strategic targets for Dubai."

The total volume of trade between the UAE and China grew by an annual average of 40% to $20 billion (Dh73.4 billion) in 2007, and the Chinese Government has targeted US$100 billion in total trade with the Middle East by 2010.

The China Sourcing Fair exhibition in Dubai is targeted at serving the needs of importers and volume buyers in the Middle East and North Africa region that seek high-quality products from competitive suppliers in Greater China.

Based on the success of this event last year, the range of companies for 2008 is being expanded to include specialists in fashion accessories and electronics. One of the more popular features scheduled to be repeated this year is a series of workshops on strategies to tap into the Chinese marketplace.

"The China Sourcing Fair is built on the success of the fairs held in Hong Kong and mainland China and offers buyers from the Middle East, Africa, India and the Russian Federation, convenient and easy access to new sources of quality products," said Merle A Hinrichs, chairman and chief executive at Global Sources, the organiser of the event.

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