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The UAE-China relationship in 2021: A golden year, a golden future: UAE Ambassador to China

BEIJING, 2nd December, 2021 (WAM) — The 2021 is a highly significant year for the United Arab Emirates and as the Emirati people stand in solidarity with global efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, ''we are also celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the UAE's foundation on Dec. 2'', Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri, UAE Ambassador to China, said.

In an Op-Ed written for China Daily on the occasion of the UAE's Golden Jubilee, Al Dhaheri said: ''The Golden Jubilee is a great milestone for reviewing the UAE's achievements over the five decades. The country has been transformed from a society once reliant on the trading of pearls to a regional economic powerhouse, with technological and ambitions for space exploration. In 1971, the UAE's
total volume of GDP was valued at approximately $11 billion. By 2020, our GDP totaled $421 billion and enjoys a GDP per capita of approximately $43,000, one of the highest in the world.

These achievements did not happen in isolation, but rather through cooperation with like-minded neighbors, partners and friends like China. Our strategic partnerships and engagements with China are making investments into future generations, supported by our national initiatives like "Projects of the 50", "UAE Net Zero by 2050" and China's Belt and Road Initiative. These projects are the cornerstone for the UAE's next 50 years of prosperity and sustainable growth.

This year marks the 37th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the UAE and China. The UAE is China's largest export market and the largest non-oil trading partner in the Middle East and North Africa. Conversely, China is also the UAE's largest trading partner.

Currently, our bilateral trade relationship is valued at $50 billion by trade volume and is on track to expand to $200 billion by 2030. This accelerated growth is in part due to the UAE being among the first countries to join the Belt and Road Initiative and our strategic comprehensive partnership. As a result, the UAE is now the largest logistics hub for China in the Middle East and more than 60 percent of China's trade in the region now transits through the UAE.

In the past few years, more than 6,000 Chinese companies have located operations in the UAE and numerous MoUs and agreements have been signed, which have opened new opportunities in areas such as sustainable energy, food and energy security, financial services, education and international humanitarian assistance. The Emirati and Chinese peoples have grown closer through these commercial ties, in addition to our existing cultural and language exchanges.

Expo in the city of tomorrow

Expo 2020 Dubai is an example of the UAE's ability to be an international platform for global exchange. It is the first world expo held in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. As the largest cultural global event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE will welcome over 25 million visitors and 192 participating countries from around the world.

The theme of Expo 2020 Dubai is "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future", which is predicated on the belief innovation and progress are the results of people and ideas coming together in inspiring new ways. Echoing this theme, the UAE is committed to building a meaningful, measurable, and long-term legacy from this event. More than 80 percent of Expo 2020 Dubai's infrastructure will live on and be continued to be used in the future city of District 2020.

China's committed participation in Expo 2020 Dubai is also remarkable. The Chinese Pavilion, known as "The Light of China", is one of the central attractions and showcases China's finest achievements in the fields of science, technology and sustainability. The pavilion is expected to receive over two million visitors, physical and virtual.

The campaign against COVID-19

The mutual trust between the UAE and China has become invaluable over the last 21 months, enabling the UAE to become the vaccination hub and logistics link of the Middle East for China's Sinopharm vaccine. In cooperation with Sinopharm, the UAE has been producing Hayat-Vax, the first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine in the Middle East.

To date, more than 90 percent of the UAE's population has already received free vaccines. While these are already impressive achievements, it is projected the UAE's vaccine production capacity will eventually reach 200 million doses per year.

Innovation and sustainability: Laying a foundation for the next 50 years

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE's visionary founding father, first laid out the blueprint to transform our arid country into an oasis. In the spirit and honor of this vision, the UAE will host COP28 in Abu Dhabi next year.

COP28 will be a great opportunity for the UAE and the world, as we come together to share experiences, standards and technologies. Having announced our ambitious UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, the UAE will further demonstrate our commitment and leadership for climate change among the Middle East and North African nations.

We have launched transformational domestic projects such as the widespread building of solar power plants, ushered in a national transition to eco-friendly EV cars, and have constructed several green cities. Emirati cities today already enjoy solar energy cheaper than any other traditional or alternative fuel sources, and will have access to carbon-free nuclear energy.

Beyond domestic efforts, the UAE has also extended visions for a green future and invested approximately $17 billion in clean and renewable energy projects across six continents.

A golden future

On the date of my country's Golden Jubilee, let us celebrate the progress achieved over these past five fortunate decades, as well as the profound friendship that exists between the UAE and China.

The Emirati and Chinese governments will continue to work to the synergy of our strengths. Whether it be cooperating to keep the world safe from COVID-19 or perhaps planning future joint manned missions to Mars, the future is bright so long as we work toward our shared future for openness, sustainable development and raising the living standards of our peoples.''

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Hamriyah and Deira ports record AED 12.133b in customs declaration value for first nine months of 2023

Dubai Customs plays a crucial role as the frontline defense for community security, consistently advancing its customs centers to safeguard and facilitate maritime trade. H.E. Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs, CEO of
Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, recently visited Creek Customs Center, Deira Port, and Hamriyah Port Customs Center to evaluate progress and oversee ongoing efforts for continuous customs service development. During this visit, several executive directors, department heads, and customs center managers were present.

Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, accompanied by Rashid Al Dhabah Al Suwaidi, Acting Director of Seae Customs Centers Management, conducted inspections at Khor Customs Center, Deira Port, and Hamriyah Port Customs Center. Managers Abdulaziz Ibrahim Al Salman and Majid Salem Al Tawilah provided insights into workflow progress and accomplishments. Over the first nine months of this year, 62,454 customs declarations were processed, totaling AED 12.133 billion, with 19 seizures recorded during the same period. A visit to Hamriyah Port Customs Center showcased an advanced container X-ray inspection device, supporting increased inspection operations.

Subsequently, visits to Khor Customs Center and Deira Port highlighted achievements, including a notable seizure called the “Wheelhouse,” which successfully prevented an attempt to smuggle 243 kilograms of narcotics into the country. Commending customs employees, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih emphasized the pivotal role of maritime customs centers in ensuring community security and facilitating trade. The department collaborates for efficient goods clearance and acknowledges employee efforts
during the COVID-19 pandemic, contributing to the department’s support for global efforts to revive maritime navigation and international trade.

Musabih clarified that the department’s advanced capabilities in monitoring and inspection enable it to keep pace with the UAE’s rapid foreign trade growth. Supporting Dubai’s economic agenda D33, the department aims to double foreign trade and enhance economic partnerships with key global markets. Efforts to boost customs inspector efficiency continue through training courses, ensuring their ability to thwart smuggling attempts. Continuous development of X-ray scanning
devices and the K9 customs dog unit further enhances contraband control achievements. Rasheed Al-Dabah explained that the forthcoming period will witness the advancement of new initiatives and mechanisms in the realm of inspection and examination. These initiatives are grounded in a forward-looking perspective to introduce cutting-edge technologies utilized in examining maritime transport vessels, wooden ships, and ships engaged in fish trade.

He remarked, “Our endeavors are harmonized to enhance performance in sea customs centers, concurrently focusing on bolstering monitoring, tracking, and technical support activities to yield optimal outcomes through continuous and productive collaboration among all specialized teams within the department. The Customs centers in Deira, Al Khor, and
Hamriyah Port Customs Center shoulder their vital responsibilities in safeguarding society and facilitating maritime trade through Dubai Creek and Hamriyah Port, supporting the ongoing growth of the national economy.”

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Dubai Customs Hosts Sharjah Housing Delegation to Strengthen Government Communication Ties

Dubai Customs, represented by the Corporate Communication Department, warmly welcomed a delegation from the Sharjah Housing Department. The purpose of the visit was to familiarize the delegation with the duties and responsibilities of the
Corporate Communication Department and its affiliated divisions. The delegation also aimed to explore the awards received by the department, notably the recognition as the Best Government Communication Team in the Sharjah Government Communication Award for 2023.

Khalil Saqer bin Gharib, Director of Corporate Communication Department, along with department managers, extended a cordial reception to the Sharjah Housing delegation, which included Dr. Ahmed Rashid Al Nuaimi, Director of Government Communication, Nada Sivan, Head of the Public Relations and Events Department, and Hamad Saleh Al Hamadi, Head of
the New Media Department. Bin Gharib highlighted the department’s commitment to strengthening communication with government entities to exchange practical experiences and knowledge. The delegation was briefed on Dubai Customs exceptional performance in customs operations and other facets.

The meeting delved into discussions on potential avenues for collaboration, with the Sharjah Housing delegation. Emphasis was placed on the crucial role played by Dubai Customs’ Corporate Communication Department, customs administrations, and centers in ensuring security and safeguarding society. The delegation was presented with an overview of the department’s working mechanisms, awareness campaigns, events, and activities conducted internally and externally, aligning with Dubai Customs esteemed reputation.

Furthermore, the Sharjah Housing delegation acquired an understanding of the best media practices adopted by the Corporate Communication Department, showcasing its outstanding performance in enhancing knowledge and media dissemination to all partners. This has resulted in the department establishing and fortifying relationships with local and international media
entities. The presentation also encompassed the factors contributing to the department’s receipt of the award for the Best Government Communication Team in the Sharjah Government Communication Award.

Dr. Ahmed Rashid Al Nuaimi, Director of Government Communication at Sharjah Housing, expressed appreciation for the efforts of Dubai Customs Corporate Communication Department, acknowledging its excellence and significant contribution to enhancing the department’s standing. Dr. Al Nuaimi affirmed Sharjah Housing’s commitment to fostering ongoing visits and meetings with Dubai Customs, aiming to achieve the highest level of coordination and benefit from the Corporate Communication Departmen’s experience in securing numerous local and international awards.

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Zayed Sustainability Prize opens submissions for 2025 cycle

The Zayed Sustainability Prize, the UAE’s pioneering global sustainability and humanitarian award, has officially announced that the 2025 cycle is now open for submissions.  Submissions will be accepted until 23 June 2024 through the Prize’s online portal. Small to medium enterprises (SMEs), nonprofit organisations (NPOs) and high schools with sustainable solutions are invited to submit an entry for consideration in one of the six categories of Heath, Food, Energy, Water, Climate Action and Global High Schools. Commenting on the launch of the 2025 submissions cycle, H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, and COP28 President, said: “Since 2008, the
Zayed Sustainability Prize has honoured the legacy of Sheikh Zayed by fostering inclusive sustainable and humanitarian development around the world. In this decisive decade for climate change, these values are more important than ever. I am optimistic that the Prize will contribute to global climate action in line with the UAE Consensus, which will pave the
way toward an effective response to the Global Stocktake decision.” In response to the pressing climate crisis, and to further support the UAE’s efforts to accelerate practical solutions needed to drive climate action and uplift vulnerable communities around the world, the Prize has increased its funds from US $3.6 million to US $5.9 million. The Prize will reward US $1 million to each winner in the organisational categories of Health, Food, Energy, Water and Climate Action. Within the Global High Schools category, which is split into six world regions, each school can claim up to US $150,000 to start or further expand their project. The six world regions of the Global High Schools category are The Americas, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Sub- Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia and Pacific. The most recent Zayed Sustainability Prize winners were recognised at an Awards Ceremony held during COP28 UAE. To encourage a broader range of organisations and high schools to participate, the Prize will be accepting submissions in multiple languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese. This will ensure that innovative solutions from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds can be recognised. For the Health, Food, Energy, Water and Climate Action categories, organisations should prove that they are improving access to essential products or services in their targeted communities and are able to implement a long-term vision for better living and working conditions. For the Global High Schools category, projects should be led by students, and must demonstrate innovative approaches to address sustainability challenges. The evaluation of each submission to the Prize consists of a rigorous, three-stage process. First, due diligence is conducted on all submissions to ensure that they meet the Prize’s evaluation criteria of Impact, Innovation, and Inspiration. This identifies the qualified entries and results in the selection of eligible candidates. Following this, evaluations are undertaken by a Selection Committee consisting of category-specific panels of independent international experts. From this shortlist of candidates, the finalists are chosen and then sent to the Prize Jury who unanimously elect the winners across all six categories.   Winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize will be announced at an Awards Ceremony during the 2025 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).

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