A Chinese Delegation representing the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce met with the Economic Development Board (EDB) today at the EDB headquarters. During the visit, the delegation will also meet with representatives from other public sector bodies and with private sector companies to strengthen ties with Bahrain.
The delegation includes representatives from China’s manufacturing and ICT sectors, aiming to promote investment opportunities and greater economic cooperation between Bahrain and China.
During the meeting the EDB briefed the delegation on the Kingdom’s offering to investors, in terms of its open business environment and the opportunities it presents international investors to access the Gulf market. This included the numerous advantages Chinese and other international businesses are benefiting from by locating in the Kingdom, such as low operating costs, a highly qualified bilingual workforce, and excellent connectivity and access to the other countries that make up the GCC and the region. The delegation was also introduced to the EDB’s efforts to attract investment in key sectors where there is the greatest potential for growth.
Bahrain has been a trading nation for thousands of years and played a key role in the development of the maritime trade routes that connected China to Europe along the old Silk Road. In fact, there is evidence of trade between Bahrain and China as early as the 8th century AD. Today, along the 21st century Silk Road, envisioned under China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ strategy, Bahrain is a hub for a number of Chinese businesses looking to access the fast growing Gulf and wider Middle East region.
China is one of Bahrain’s most important trading partners and this visit is part of the EDB’s strategy to continue to strengthen bilateral, economic, and investment cooperation between the two countries. In 2015, the EDB hosted more than 15 business delegations from China.
In a statement, Vivian Jamal the Executive Director of Marketing & Communications commented:
“the EDB seeks to attract quality investments in key economic sectors to create high value jobs for Bahrainis. The Kingdom offers investors from China significant advantages in a number of sectors, including manufacturing, ICT and financial services. Through our work to build even stronger ties with China the EDB is attracting new Chinese businesses, helping existing Chinese businesses to expand and create jobs in Bahrain. For example, during the EDB-led investment roadshow to China in September 2015 three Chinese businesses, Baoshang Bank, Jinlou Water and Worldwide Logistics, announced plans to establish operations in Bahrain.”
In September 2015, a high-level business delegation from Bahrain took part in a 10-day visit to China, organised by the EDB. The visit resulted in the signing of 15 agreements between Chinese companies and trade bodies to strengthen economic and trade ties. The delegation also participated in the China International Fair for Investment & Trade (CIFIT), where Bahrain was the first country in the Middle East to be guest country of honour.
In 2013, the EDB established an international office in China, which plays a key role in the promotion of the Kingdom in China and attracting representatives to visit.
Trade between Bahrain and China has been growing fast. Total goods traded between Bahrain and China (excluding crude oil) exceeded US$1.76 billion in 2015.
A large number of leading Chinese companies have already established operations in Bahrain, such as Huawei and the Bank of China. Bahrain is Huawei’s Middle East headquarters. The Bank of China’s Bahrain office was the first event venture by a Chinese bank in the Middle East. At the end of 2015, the Bahrain Dragon City opened its doors to the public. This Chinese-themed shopping mall hosts more than 500 Chinese businesses and utilises Bahrain’s strategic location to raise the profile of Chinese products in the region.