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Envoy: Stronger Sino-UAE relations help HK in Mideast

By SHADOW LI in Abu Dhabi | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-02-09 09:07

Zhang Yiming

Chinese Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Zhang Yiming said on Tuesday that Hong Kong is well positioned to deepen its ties with the UAE by leveraging its unique strengths amid surging Sino-UAE cooperation.

In an exclusive interview with China Daily in Abu Dhabi, Zhang said the ongoing, high-profile visit to the UAE by Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu, who is accompanied by a high-powered delegation, has been widely welcomed by the UAE government and the local community.

Lee is leading a delegation of senior HKSAR government officials and more than 30 high-level representatives from various industry sectors on an 8-day trip to Saudi Arabia and the UAE from Feb 4 through Saturday.

It is Lee's first overseas trip this year, kicking off focused efforts by the SAR to promote the city globally after it embraced normalcy at pre-pandemic levels.

Zhang said that stronger China-UAE ties have provided a solid foundation and an environment for Hong Kong's collaboration with the UAE.

Last year, China-UAE trade hit a record high of $99.27 billion, up 37.4 percent year-on-year despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, more than 420 Hong Kong enterprises, including Cathay Pacific and Hutchison Ports, gained a foothold in the UAE.

In 2021, Hong Kong had opened its Economic and Trade Office in Dubai to facilitate collaboration.

Zhang pointed out that the UAE and the HKSAR shared common strengths. "Hong Kong is the 'Pearl of the Orient' and the UAE is called the 'Pearl of the Gulf'. I think both have unique locations as regional financial, economic, trade and innovation centers, and both sides are also playing a similar role to connect the world between the West and the East," he said.

The UAE hosts thousands of Chinese companies, which could serve as a strong platform for Hong Kong to forge closer ties while promoting the roles of the UAE and the SAR as the pivots of the Belt and Road Initiative, Zhang added.

Read more: Ambassador welcomes HK delegation

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