High-level Bahrain trade delegation to China wraps up successful visit

A high-level Bahrain delegation headed by Minister of Industry and Commerce Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro completed an official visit to China in October to strengthen economic ties and attract high-impact investment projects to Bahrain.

Organised by the Ministry of Industry & Commerce (MOIC) with the support of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB), the delegation comprised senior representatives from Bahrain’s public and private sectors and spanned the three cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Beijing.

China is one of Bahrain’s five largest trading partners, with the volume of non-oil bilateral trade reaching about USD2.4 billion in 2022. Beyond heavily contributing to the completion of large-scale construction and infrastructure projects, various China-based companies benefit from established operations in Bahrain which provides strategic access to the wider Gulf market.

Shenzhen-based tech multinational Huawei Technologies has established its Middle East and Central Asia Headquarters in Bahrain, CPIC Fiberglass, the largest fibreglass manufacturer in China, has set up a facility in Bahrain International Investment Park, and KKC Industries, a Chinese manufacturer of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) products, produces and exports key products across the Middle East, US and European markets from its manufacturing facility in Bahrain.

In addition to site visits and meetings organised with government officials, the agenda included a series of investor meetings and two keynote economic forums focused on attracting leading investment projects with a focus on the manufacturing and information and communication technology (ICT) sectors.

The first, titled ‘China GCC Economic and Trade Forum’, was hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China in Guangzhou, while the second was hosted by Bahrain EDB with the support of the Chinese Overseas Development Association (CODA) in Beijing.

During the visit to Beijing, Bahrain signed four agreements to strengthen ties with China, including a Letter of Intent of the Corporation Plan on the Belt and Road Initiative between Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Development & Reform Commission of China, and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the field of Tourism, signed between Bahrain’s Ministry of Tourism and China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

MOIC signed two further MOUs with China’s National Intellectual Property Administration in the field of Intellectual Property and on the Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Programme.

On the side-lines, Gulf Air announced new direct routes to Guangzhou and Shanghai, in line with its plans to expand its global network. The two routes, which are set to operate from January 2024, will offer direct flights from Bahrain International Airport (BIA) to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG).

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