UAE and Hong Kong exports outstrip counterpart China
As Hong Kong prepares to host the Belt and Road Summit, its focus is increasingly turning to the Gulf for trade and investment opportunities. Albert Wong, CEO, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, said, last month the city was “open to business, especially in innovation.” UAE exports to Hong Kong were worth US$10.7 billion in 2021 overtaking those to mainland China, which stood at US$9 billion. The UAE is Hong Kong’s largest Middle East trading partner and its non-oil trade reached US$11.7 billion during 2022, a 40 per cent jump over the past five years. Last week Emirates announced a third daily flight to Hong Kong starting in November to meet market demand. “This underscores Hong Kong’s role in re-exporting UAE imports to mainland China,” added Redmond Wong. KSA is China’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, with bilateral trade reaching US$106 billion in 2022. It is followed by the UAE at $72 billion. Over 6,000 Chinese companies operate in the UAE. Vijay Valecha, Chief Investment Officer, Century Financial, said the emergence of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE as regional leaders had resulted in an increase in trade volumes between Hong Kong and other Gulf nations. The Chinese special administrative region has been strengthening its links with the ME since 2013, when the Belt and Road Initiative was launched. It now wants to attract more companies from the GCC, underscoring its pivotal role in China-Gulf relations. A free trade deal with the UAE is also on the cards for Hong Kong, analysts said.