DUBAI — The Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC) announced a 24% year-to-date increase in the number of Chinese companies setting up in its free trade zone on Thursday.

The DMCC has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Lin-gang Special Area of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (LGSAC). The deal was struck on the sidelines of the DMCC’s in person roadshow in the commercial trade hubs of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing in China. 

The agreement will allow Shanghai and Dubai to streamline requirements and processes for companies looking to set up in either region, according to a press release.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, CEO of the DMCC, said China is one of the most strategically important markets for the Dubai free zone, which hosts 770 Chinese companies.

“We are delighted to be back in China at such a vibrant and exciting time for our countries where bilateral trade outside of oil last year grew to over $72 billion. This MoU with LGSAC is the latest statement of intent as we aim to further the ease of doing business for greater trade flows and mutual economic prosperity,” said Sulayem. 

Zhao Yihuai, deputy director of the LGSAC free trade zone, mirrored the sentiment and identified the UAE as a valuable trading partner. 

“Our partnership with DMCC comes at a strategic time when the leadership in China and the UAE have set a target to increase bilateral trade to $200 billion by 2030. We are confident this agreement will further strengthen the ties between the two nations by granting businesses improved access to both markets,” he said. 

The UAE is drawing more interest from Chinese businesses as the Gulf state courts investment from the world’s second-largest economy.

Over 6,000 Chinese companies have set up operations in the Emirates in the last few years, according to global business and legal services provider Intertrust Group.

In May, the UAE Central Bank pledged to expand cooperation with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to form a joint working group on financial infrastructure, financial market connectivity between the UAE and Hong Kong and virtual assets regulation.

Dubai’s state-owned DP World, the fourth-largest operator in container terminal activities, signed agreements with China's Ningbo-Zhoushan port and Zhejiang Seaport during the same month to cooperate on automotive industry chain services and logistics.

Ningbo-Zhoushan said it will boost the deal as part of China’s signature investment project the Road and Belt Initiative. 

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