Trade between Arab states and China will witness major leap in the coming years as a result of the increasing economic, investment and commercial cooperation between the two sides, predicted UAE minister of Foreign Trade Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi. “We are confident of our ability to achieve our common aspirations for increasing the volume of trade exchange to reach $300 billion during the next two years”, she said addressing the 3rd China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum, that opened on Wednesday in the capital of Ningxia province, Yinchuan. The United Arab Emirates has been selected as the guest country of honor in the event. Sheikha Lubna heads the official UAE delegation to the Forum. The bilateral trade relations between Arab countries and China has made a quantum leap during the past few years, offering promising opportunities to further promote joint investment and economic cooperation. The Arab world now ranks seventh in the list of major trading partners of China, Sheikha Lubna noted. At the forum, a national pavilion of UAE has also been set up, and a friendly soccer match between China and UAE will be held on Wednesday evening. UAE-China trade Trade between the UAE and China has increased fivefold over the past 10 years with a growth rate of 395 per cent - from $15.654 billion in 2011 to $3.12 billion in 2002. During this period, both countries achieved steady economic growth that was capable of overcoming the ramifications of the slowing global economy. Trade between the two countries is expected to grow faster in the future especially that China is now the world’s second largest economy. In a study released today by the Ministry of Foreign Trade (MOFT) on trade relations between the United Arab Emirates and China on the sidelines of the UAE’s participation in the Ningxia International Investment and Trade Fair 2012’ and the 2nd China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum’, which are scheduled to take place between the 12th and 16th of this month in the city of Yinchuan, the capital and largest city of the autonomous Chinese Ningxia region, the Ministry stated that the People’s Republic of China maintained its status as the UAE’s second largest trade partner, revealing that trade between the two countries grew to $15.6 billion in 2012, in comparison with $14.2 billion in 2011 (with a 10 per cent growth rate). The main imports from China were electronic appliances, radio audio recording devices, cameras, mechanical tools and devices, and articles of iron and steel. As to the main exports to China, those were plastics and their products, copper and its products, as well as iron and its products. The study also revealed that the Halal food industry and market in China should be explored further as the market was worth $2.5 billion last year having grown by 10 per cent from the year before, revealing that the Halal food sector in China is witnessing an increase in demand considering the presence of millions of Chinese Muslims. The study added that the UAE is considered one of the fastest growing economies in the Middle East and that China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world -currently in second place -which creates a number of opportunities and areas for cooperation between the two countries in a number of strategic sectors such as financing, real estate, construction and foreign trade, where MoFT hopes to play an important role. The study stated that the Chinese Ningxia Province is one of the top five agricultural provinces in China and has an abundance of fertile agricultural land (19 million hectares suitable for agriculture). It added that many international companies are now investing in Ningxia in order to benefit from the preferential treatment offered to them by the Chinese Government and from the good investment climate provided by the Ningxia Government to attract profit seeking capital. The study added that the Province’s well established infrastructure, which enjoys modern highways, railways, ports, airports and communication mediums, has helped it attract investments. It pointed out that the province also enjoys economic, commercial and investment relations that it accrued with a number of countries through the exchange of visits and the holding of economic, trade and investment negotiations.