Trade & Investment

Bahrain in search of more bilateral opportunities in China

Updated: 2015-09-09
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Read more on: 2015 CIFIT   Xiamen CIFIT  

Bahrain is considered a guest of honor at this year's CIFIT, and has sent a delegation of around 100 business representatives from a variety of sectors including manufacturing, information and technology, tourism and finance.
   
The diversified industries of Bahrain can provide huge business opportunities for Chinese companies, according to the nation's economic development agency.
 
"Under China's Belt and Road Initiative, we believe that there could be more closer cooperation between Bahrain and China in the near future," said Khalid Al Rumaihi, chief executive of the Economic Development Board of Bahrain.
 
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, is a trade and infrastructure network that includes the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The network connects Asia, Europe and Africa and passes through more than 60 countries and regions with a population of about 4.4 billion.
 
Rumaihi said Bahrain is considered one of the initiative's most important trade hubs, and can play a vital role for Chinese businesses entering the Gulf market.
 
In an interview with China Daily during the China International Fair for Investment and Trade, which opened in the coastal city of Xiamen, Fujian province, on Tuesday, Rumaihi said a number of Chinese companies including telecommunication service provider Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Bank of China Ltd have set up subsidiaries in Bahrain.
 
GAC Motor Co, the Guangdong province-based carmaker, has opened a sales operation in the kingdom. Bahrain has been a trading hub for China as far back as the 8th century. The island state is building its own "dragon city" - a trade center covering 120,000 square meters, which intends to house about 500 Chinese businesses.
 
With simplified customs-clearance procedures and preferential import policies, Rumaihi said "Chinese products can easily enter Bahrain, and then be moved onto neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia".
 
Bahrain is considered a guest of honor at this year's CIFIT, and has sent a delegation of around 100 business representatives from a variety of sectors including manufacturing, information and technology, tourism and finance.
 
It has taken an exhibition pavilion covering 1,000 square meters of space to promote both its cultural and business activities, and is holding a business forum and investment matchmaking event during the fair.
 
"Only 20 percent of our economy is related to the oil industry. Manufacturing, information, communication and technology, finance and tourism are the four key industries that are being promoted to Chinese investors, all of which are offered advantages in terms of land use, regulations and preferential policies."
 
Bahrain last year attracted 10 million tourist visits from around the world, according to Rumaihi. "We have about 1,000 Chinese people living in Bahrain today and we hope that number will grow as both countries facilitate better business and trade ties," he said.
 
A number of agreements between Bahraini and Chinese tourist agencies are currently in the offing, said Rumaihi, which should help boost those numbers further.
 
"We are also holding talks with several Chinese airlines to see if we could open direct flights between Bahrain and major Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen," he said.
 
In the other direction, too, representatives from Bahrain are looking for investment opportunities in China during the fair. "We have brought some of Bahrain's largest companies to see how they can invest in China," he said.
 
Bahrain's trade value with China, excluding crude oil, grew from $900 million in 2009 to $2 billion in 2014, with imports from China growing 30 percent year-on-year in 2014.
 
SOURCE:
China Daily
 
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