Dubai's Multi Commodities Center (DMCC), the largest free trade zone in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), expects a stronger Chinese presence in its trade community, due to China's increasing influence in the world trade scene.
"The Chinese presence and contribution to the global economy and commodities trade always surprises me," said the DMCC's Executive Chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem during a news conference presenting DMCC in Beijing on July 9.
DMCC is expected on July 11 to sign a memorandum with the provincial branch of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade in Hubei province, to seek deeper understanding and cooperation.
Bin Sulayem also foresees extensive opportunities for DMCC to attract Chinese companies.
Nearly 70 countries (and regions) are connected in some way to the Belt and Road Initiative, and he believes Dubai and DMCC could be a gateway to both Europe and Africa for Chinese companies driven by the Belt and Road Initiative to go abroad.
Many major Chinese companies, such as China Petroleum Engineering and Construction Corporation (CPECC), China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), and Hisense, a leading Chinese white goods and electronics manufacturer, have already registered in DMCC and had offices there, although the total number of Chinese companies operating in DMCC is only 340, a small fraction of DMCC's 15,000 member companies.
"The registrations of Chinese companies at the DMCC grew at 46 percent annually in the past five years up to July 2018," he said.
The UAE's economic ties with China are also becoming closer. In 2017, Chinese investors remained among the top 10 most active nationalities in UAE, he said.
The upcoming six-month Expo 2020 to Dubai will offer great business potential to Chinese companies, and he hopes the construction of Dubai's Uptown area will attract Chinese engineering and construction companies.
Myriad cooperation projects have been going on between DMCC and its Chinese partners.
Currently, DMCC is helping Ningbo city in Zhejiang province build its free trade zone.
In April 2017, DMCC's Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange announced the historic launch of DGCX Shanghai Gold Futures (GSGC), following the signing of a landmark deal with the Shanghai Gold Exchange in October 2017. The yuan-denominated contract marks the first-ever usage of the Shanghai Gold Benchmark Price in international markets.
In 2016, DMCC signed a major agreement with Yunnan State Farms Group and its Hong Kong trading partner Mega Capital Halal Group to import coffee annually from Yunnan province to Dubai for world distribution. Yunnan State Farms Group accounts for a majority of the Chinese coffee bean production.