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China visit strengthens ties with Bahrain


A Bahrain delegation led by HE Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation and Acting Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) visited the People’s Republic of China over ten days during October.
The delegation, which comprised of government officials and private-sector businesspeople, toured China’s major commercial centres – Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – as well as Hong Kong. At each, they held meetings, seminars and investment forums, and signed no fewer than 12 MoUs (Memoranda of Understanding).
The purpose of the visit was to promote cooperation in trade and investment, and to explore partnership opportunities, in particular emphasising Bahrain’s role as a gateway for Chinese investment across the Gulf.
Cementing a two-thousand-year history
China and Bahrain have a long economic relationship, dating back to the original Silk Road trading route, two millennia ago.
In the modern era, the two countries have celebrated 25 years of official bilateral relations. Recently, China has been pursuing its ‘One Belt, One Road’ trading policy towards Bahrain and other GCC states, rekindling the spirit of the original Silk Road. In Bahrain’s case, this has resulted in China becoming the largest importer into the Kingdom, with over US $1 billion non-oil imports, and the third-largest non-GCC market for Bahraini exports.
Bahrain now hosts a number of leading Chinese organisations, such as Huawei, with more than 500 employees at its regional headquarters and Chinamex, the Chinese government agency behind ‘Bahrain Dragon City’. In parallel, Bahrain EDB recently opened an office at the Bahrain Embassy in Beijing.
Speaking at the China Overseas Investment Fair in Beijing, at which four agreements were signed, HE Kamal bin Ahmed said, “By creating the most open economies in the Middle East region, and delivering a favourable business environment, Bahrain is able to fully support China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ policy and act as the ideal hub from which Chinese businesses can access the fast growing GCC market, currently worth US $1.6 trillion.
“These four agreements will work to strengthen China and Bahrain’s already strong economic and trade partnership and will deliver high value added jobs for Bahrainis and significant returns for Chinese investors.”