Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Ports and Jiangsu Overseas Cooperation Investment Co. Ltd. (JOCIC) have signed a five-year agreement with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to make it easier and quicker for Chinese companies to do business at Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD), Abu Dhabi’s integrated trade, logistics, industrial and free zone.
Abu Dhabi Ports, the operator and manager of the Emirate’s commercial and community ports, and its subsidiary KIZAD have already established with JOCIC a 2.2 square kilometre China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone at KIZAD under a 50-year agreement. The Demonstration Zone forms part of the UAE’s support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and aims to attract more trade and investment to Abu Dhabi. The agreement also reiterates the strategic position played by the Emirate to the major trade hubs along the BRI.
During the recent state visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to China, a MoU was signed by H.E. Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports, Wang Bin, Chairman of JOCIC, and Chen Siqing, Chairman of ICBC, KIZAD providing even more attractive for foreign investors.
Through its branches in Abu Dhabi and Jiangsu, ICBC – the world’s largest bank by assets – will provide services for firms being incorporated at KIZAD by becoming a preferred banking partner of Abu Dhabi Ports and JOCIC. The three organisations will facilitate meetings between companies and the bank to help it tailor its portfolio of products and services to individual needs, making it quicker and easier for companies to start up in KIZAD. In addition, ICBC will raise awareness of KIZAD with clients in China and across other markets.
H.E. Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Chairman of the Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports, said: “Abu Dhabi’s strategic location and commitment to the Belt and Road Initiative has placed the Emirate in an advantageous position on the global trade map. Thanks to these factors, we have forged a number of strategic partnerships that are supporting the development of an innovative and sustainable economic ecosystem across the region.
“I am delighted that our latest partnership is with a global leader such as Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. Improving the ease of doing business in the Emirate for both our current and future clients is a top priority for Abu Dhabi Ports. Our agreement with ICBC is another successful achievement of these efforts, since navigating finance and banking can be a major obstacle for firms looking to enter into a new market.”
JOCIC, which is engaged in investing, constructing, operating and managing industrial zones abroad, as well as investing in real estate development and other projects, has already attracted the interest of 20 Chinese firms in the Demonstration Zone since it was set up last year.
Wang Bin, Chairman of JOCIC, said: “The UAE is attracting Chinese investment through our industrial cooperation zone at KIZAD thanks to strong confidence and sound industrialization policies, as well as its commitment to economic diversification. The country, located at the meeting point of Europe, Asia and Africa, also has a welcoming business environment and is a hub for numerous industries, such as shipping logistics, finance and technology.
“This makes the UAE both an important platform for Chinese enterprises looking to enter Europe and Africa, and a critical gateway through which European and African enterprises can explore the Chinese market.
“We are proud to be helping Chinese enterprises grow their businesses overseas efficiently and effectively through the demonstration zone at KIZAD.”
From the financing perspective, this significant agreement will provide ICBC with a unique opportunity to help Chinese enterprises better understand the opportunities presented by KIZAD and support their investments in industry, trade and logistics.
Under the agreement, the bank will also help potential investors understand the banking sector in the UAE and will have a dedicated liaison team for clients of Abu Dhabi Ports, who will receive priority treatment from ICBC. The bank, Abu Dhabi Ports and JOCIC will also work together to simplify application processes for services ranging from foreign exchange to financial consultancy and project finance, including speeding up the sourcing and processing of documents, such as those used to grant land rights within KIZAD.
The bank will also support Abu Dhabi Ports’ clients looking to set up in China. The agreement is the latest agreement between Abu Dhabi Ports and a major Chinese company. Earlier in the year, Roadbot broke ground on a new tyre manufacturing plant at the China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone.
The longstanding economic relationship between China and the UAE was further strengthened last year with the official inauguration of the COSCO Shipping and Ports’ Abu Dhabi Terminal at Khalifa Port, positioning Abu Dhabi as the regional hub for COSCO’s global network of 285 berths at 37 ports.