Bahrain, China to strengthen trade ties
Ningxia, September 22, 2011
Chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), Shaikh Mohammed Bin Essa Al-Khalifa, has highlighted opportunities to strengthen and diversify trading links with China.
Speaking at the summit meeting with the heads of Arab delegations, ahead of the China-Arab International Trade and Economic-Operation Forum organised by FT Chinese in Ningxia, Al Khalifa said: “I believe this relationship (between China and the GCC) will shift further to one where investments predominate, whether it is through pure finance or in human capital and services. These activities require a greater commitment, but with that they will bring substantial mutual benefits over the long term.”
China is currently the third largest non-GCC market for Bahrain exports while it is the second largest importer into the Kingdom.
He discussed the development and diversification of Bahrain’s economy over the past 10 years, emphasising the continuing business fundamentals its economy offered.
Recognised as the most diversified economy in the Gulf and the most liberal one in the region, Al Khalifa pointed to Bahrain’s central role as a gateway for China to the Gulf’s trillion dollar market, which is set to double by 2020.
Acknowledging the unrest that has occurred across the region, the speech asserted that long-term prospects were strong, not least because of the young age profile and improving levels of education in the Middle East, as well as the commitments made by governments across the region for significant investments in economic and social infrastructure.
“Accounting for its position as a bridge point between East and West, I can only see the relationship between the Arab World and China growing. And this will occur above and beyond the importance of oil to trade and economic co-operation,” he said.
“In short, good trade relations between China and the Arab world are in our mutual interest. Through more diverse and deeper interdependence we will bring greater growth to our markets,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service