Dubai – MENA Herald: Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), the flagship free zone entity of Dubai and a globally acknowledged trade and logistics hub of the Middle East, has always been keen to promote and strengthen bilateral relations with Chinese authorities including free zones, who were equally eager to spread their footprint in the region through Jafza.

In pursuant to the common aspirations of both sides a 6-member VIP delegation led by HE Ni Chao, Deputy Mayor of Xiamen and Director General of Xiamen Free Trade Zone, visited Jafza. The delegation was received by Ibrahim Mohammed Al Janahi, Deputy CEO of Jafza and Chief Commercial Officer of Economic Zones World (EZW), at the Free Zone.

HE the Mayor and her team and senior Jafza officials discussed ways to further strengthen robust trade ties that China and Jebel Ali Free Zone enjoy.

Ibrahim Al Janahi in his welcome note talked about bilateral trade ties between China and the Free Zone that continues to grow stronger with every passing year. He stressed on the need for more and more Chinese companies to serve rapidly growing Middle East markets through Jafza, which is a globally acknowledged trade and logistics hub for wider Middle East region that spans from West Asia to the CIS, Indian Sub-continent and Africa.

HE Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of DP World and Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, commenting on the Jafza visit of Xiamen Deputy Mayor and her team said:

“Stronger bilateral relations between Jafza and Chinese Free Zones will further cement already robust commercial ties that UAE in general and Dubai in particular enjoy with China. Dubai has long been the gateway for Chinese companies to reach and serve all key markets in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. This is the reason China is Dubai’s largest trade partner. Dubai’s foreign trade with China in the first half of 2015 stood at AED 90 billion (USD 24.5 billion) reporting a steady growth. In 2014 the total value of bilateral trade was AED 175 billion (USD 47.6 billion). Jafza plays a key role in the continued growth of trade between the two sides through the trade generated by a large number of Chinese market leaders based in the Free Zone. Jebel Ali Port has facilitated smooth flow of Chinese goods into Dubai and from Dubai to different markets in the region.

“Jafza and Jebel Ali Port’s customer centric approach is fully in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to position the Emirate as the world’s top business hub and the most favoured investment destination.”

Al Janahi said:

“China continues to be one of our key trade partners. Our long-standing bilateral relation has been growing steadily over the last several decades. In 2014 China – Jafza bilateral trade hit AED 52.4 billion (USD 14.3 billion), which was up 14.4% from the AED 45.8 billion (USD 12.5 billion) two-way trade in 2013. 98% of the total Jafza-China trade constitutes Chinese exports to the Free Zone, which is largely meant for re-exports to the GCC and other countries in the Middle East.”

With a total trade of AED 36.7 billion (USD 10 billion), electronics occupy the top position in Jafza-China trade, followed by textiles and iron & steel that have posted a trade of AED 3.3 billion (USD 911 million) and AED 2.6 billion (USD 723 million) respectively, Al Janahi further added.

During meeting Jafza officials emphasized on the huge growth opportunities for Chinese businesses in the rapidly growing economies in the Middle East and the status of Jafza as a trade and logistics hub to serve all key markets in the region efficiently. They attributed Jafza’s remarkable success as a business and re-distribution hub to its excellent products, integrated services, most efficient multi-modal connectivity it offers and its customer driven policies which aim at making customers’ operations at the Free Zone seamless.

He assured full assistance to Chinese companies who want to set-up their operation at the Free Zone to capitalize on the huge opportunities the Middle East region offers. He also extended his support to the delegation in helping Xiamen Free Zone achieve success and growth by sharing Jafza experience and best practices with them that has made Jafza one of the top free zones in the world.

HE Ni Chao expressed her thanks for Jafza’s support to Xiamen Free Zone. She said:

“When we decided to establish Xiamen Free Trade Zone we looked up to the success story of Jafza and the Free Zone’s remarkable achievements over the last thirty years as a benchmark and our role model. We seek to learn and benefit from your valuable experience.”

She invited Jafza Deputy CEO and his team to visit Xiamen to strengthen bi-lateral trade and cooperation between the two sides.

The Jafza team led by Ibrahim Al Janahi at the meeting included Adil Al Zarooni, SVP and Khalid Al Marzooqi, Senior Manager Sales- Asia-Pacific Region while HE Ni Chao led Xiamen delegation included HE Mr. Liu Songwu, Deputy Director General-Xiamen Customs, Ms. Chen Min, Deputy Director General, Xiamen Free Trade Zone and senior officials from Xiamen Customs, Xiamen Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office and Xiamen Xiangyu Group Corporation.

After meeting, Xiamen delegation was taken on Jafza tour to enable them to see Jafza’s infrastructure, facilities and services.