China and UAE sign deals as president visits Abu Dhabi

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China and the United Arab Emirates signed a raft of economic agreements Friday as President Xi Jingping held “extensive talks” in Abu Dhabi that will strengthen political ties, the UAE said.

Xi met UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also ruler of Dubai, and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan on the second day of a three-day visit.

“We have substantial political and economic agreement and a solid base of projects in energy and technology sectors and infrastructure”, Dubai’s ruler said in a tweet.

“More than that, (we have) a strong political will to start a larger phase of cooperation,” he added.
China and the UAE already agreed oil and trade deals in the runup to Xi’s visit.

The two delegations signed more “memorandums of understanding and agreements” on Friday, Crown Prince Mohammed said on Twitter.

This takes the total number of memoranda of understanding and deals struck this month to 13, official UAE news agency WAM said.

A strategic cooperation framework between state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) and China National Petroleum Company was among the deals signed on Friday, ADNOC said.

The agreement “outlines opportunities for possible future collaboration across ADNOC’s upstream and downstream value chains and support for China’s growing energy needs”, ADNOC said in a statement.

ADNOC announced on Thursday it had awarded two contracts worth $1.6 billion (1.4 billion euros) to BGP Inc, a subsidiary of CNPC, for a seismic survey in the emirate.

The survey will search for oil and gas in onshore and offshore sites covering an area of 53,000 square kilometres (20,500 square miles).

Also on Thursday, the UAE’s state-owned DP World announced an agreement between the two countries to build a new trade zone in Dubai.

The project is part of China’s trillion-dollar “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure initiative, an ambitious plan to revive the ancient Silk Road trading routes with a global network of ports, roads and railways.

In a further sign of strengthening ties, Dubai-based real estate developer Emaar Properties on Wednesday announced plans to build the Middle East’s largest Chinatown in the UAE.

Abu Dhabi is the Chinese president’s first stop on a tour which also includes Senegal, Rwanda and South Africa.