Manama, Economic Development Board, 29th October 2014: Three MOUs were signed today in Shenzhen as the Bahrain business delegation continues its tour of China’s principal commercial centres. The 10 day visit by the Economic Development Board (EDB) began on 23rd October in Beijing, passing through Guangzhou into Shenzhen, and will culminate in Hong Kong in two days’ time.
The MoUs look to strengthen ties between Bahrain and Shenzhen and were:
1- An MOU signed between the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and the Shenzhen branch of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), aiming to promote economic and trade ties between Bahrain and China.
2- Chinamex and Senokski Petrochemical Corporation signed an MoU to jointly promote Bahrain Dragon City to prospective tenants.
3- Chinamex also signed an MoU with Shenzhen Mobile Communication Association to promote joint attraction of Chinese tenants to Bahrain Dragon City.
In addition, the EDB organised the Bahrain – Shenzhen Economic Investment Forum, the third forum hosted as part of the roadshow. The forum showcased to potential investors the Kingdom’s favourable business environment.
The Forum included panel discussions highlighting the overall Bahrain business environment and investment opportunities in Bahrain. Mr. Ahmed Al Bassam, Director of Licencing and Policy at the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), Mr. Khalid Al Zayani, Honorary Chairman, Al Zayani Investments, Mr. Sameer Nass, Chairman of Nass Group, Mr. Brad Sun Ke, Country Manager and Sales Director at Huawei Technologies Bahrain, and Ms. Vivian Jamal, Executive Director of Business Development at the EDB discussed the openness of Bahrain’s economy during the first panel session, while during the second panel discussion Shaikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, CEO, Osool Asset Management Company, Mr. Mohamed Al Binfalah, CEO, Bahrain Airport Company (BAC), Dr. Samer Al Jishi, Head of BFG International and Board Member, Mumtalakat Holding Company, and Mr. Osama Al Khaja, Head of Project Development, Kuwait Finance House spoke about the various investment opportunities available in Bahrain, in particular to Chinese investors. The panel discussions were moderated by Mr. Mazin Manna, CEO, CitiBank Bahrain.
Bahraini businessmen and women, as well as private sector representatives held meetings with various Chinese companies on the side-lines of the forum. During the meetings, organised by the EDB, Bahraini business delegates and their Chinese counterparts discussed means of mutual cooperation in trade and investment and potential partnerships and trade opportunities.
HE Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation and Acting Chief Executive of the EDB, said:
“Over the course of this visit, which follows and builds on His Majesty the King’s historical visit to China last year, the economic relationship between our two countries has been firmly cemented, thanks to a number of MOUs with important Chinese businesses and governmental organisations. These agreements will encourage more Shenzhen-based companies to invest in Bahrain and the EDB will in return ensure that those companies benefit fully from Bahrain’s open economy and favourable business environment.”
While in Shenzhen, HE Kamal bin Ahmed also met with the Vice Secretarial General of the Shenzhen Government Mr.Zhu Tingfeng, accompanied by members of the BCCI and a number of high-level businessmen from the delegation. His Excellency also met with senior officials at the international headquarters of Huawei Technologies. The company uses its Bahrain office as its regional headquarters in the Gulf and employs over 500 professionals.
HE Kamal bin Ahmed and the delegation also met with the Vice Mayor of Shenzhen, Mr. Chen Biao and senior representatives of the Shenzhen Government while members of the BCCI, led by Mr. Othman Alrayes, First Vice Chairman of the BCCI, met with the CCPIT to discuss future cooperation opportunities. The BCCI delegation included members Mr. Khalid Al Zayani, Mr. Khalid Al Amin, and Mr. Abdulhameed Al Kooheji.
Bahrain and China have a strong trade relationship that dates back two thousand years to the first Silk Road. The Kingdom is host to a number of leading Chinese companies, which have established offices or facilities in Bahrain to access the wider Gulf market, these include: Huawei, Bank of China, China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd, and CPIC.
Bahrain’s favourable business conditions and strong economic fundamentals have been endorsed by the Heritage Foundation’s 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, which saw the Kingdom ranked 13th in the world and first in the Middle East and North Africa.