Manama, Bahrain 28, October 2023. A high-level Bahrain delegation headed by H.E. Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro, Minister of Industry and Commerce and Acting Minister of Tourism, successfully concluded its official visit to China, which kicked off as of October 21 spanning across the three cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Beijing.
Organised by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC) with the support of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB), the visit was designed to strengthen economic ties and attract high-impact investment projects to Bahrain, with a focus on priority industry sectors.
In addition to key officials from the MOIC and senior executives from Bahrain EDB, including its Chief Executive, H.E. Khalid Humaidan, the delegation comprised senior representatives from Bahrain’s public and private sectors, including representatives from the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry headed by its Second Vice Chairman, Mohamed Abduljabbar AlKooheji.
In addition to the 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, and the second was hosted by Bahrain EDB with the support of the Chinese Overseas Development Association (CODA) in Beijing. Additionally, CODA hosted an exclusive session for the Bahrain business delegation held in honour of the 20th anniversary of CODA.
On the sidelines of the events, Gulf Air announced its two new direct routes to Guangzhou and Shanghai, in line with its plans to continue to expand its global network of destinations. The two routes, which are set to operate from January 2024 , will include direct flights from Bahrain International Airport (BIA) to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG), are expected to enhance trade and tourism ties.
During the visit to Beijing, Bahrain signed four agreements to further strengthen ties with China, including the signing of 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 and 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.
Additionally, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce signed two MOUs with China’s National Intellectual Property Administration in the field of Intellectual Property and on the Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Program.
H.E Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro, the Minister of Industry and Commerce and Acting Minister of Tourism, said, “This trip was paramount in enabling us to demonstrate to leading manufacturers, technology companies, and tourism enterprises in China that are expanding globally the unique benefits of setting up in Bahrain, with the aim of further building upon existing commercial and trade ties for the mutual benefit of both countries.”
China remains one of Bahrain’s top five largest trading partners wherein as of 2022, the volume of non-oil bilateral trade between both nations reached approximately USD 2.4 billion. 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.
This includes Huawei, which has its Middle East and Central Asia Headquarters based in Bahrain, CPIC Fiberglass, the largest leading fiberglass manufacturer in China which has a facility set up in Bahrain International Investment Park, and KKC Industries WLL (iCOOL), a Chinese manufacturer of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) products, where through its manufacturing facility in Bahrain produces and exports key products across the Middle East, United States, and European markets.