Global Financial Markets Forum discusses opportunities from China’s Belt and Road initiative

Abu Dhabi, 28 February, 2018: First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the UAE’s largest bank and one of the world’s largest and safest financial institutions, hosted a panel discussion to explore opportunities in China during the ninth Global Financial Markets Forum (GFMF), which concludes today.

The Global Financial Markets Forum (GFMF), the region’s premier financial markets conference, is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Bringing together economic experts and decision-makers from the UAE and the world, GFMF has attracted over 1,600 delegates to network, exchange ideas and shape the global financial agenda.

Mr. Joseph Ho, General Manager of Overseas Business Division (PB) at ICBC, Dr. Keyu Jin, Professor at the London School of Economics, Mr. Jiegen Wei, Senior Vice President, Research Department at China Investment Corporation, and Dr. Zhihuan E, Chief Economist of Bank of China (Hong Kong), participated in the panel discussion, which looked at the opportunities for closer business collaboration between China and the Middle East.

The session began by discussing China’s One Belt and One Road initiative, which was described as a new platform for international cooperation that is enabling physical, regulatory and digital connectivity with the goal of advancing mobility, increasing productivity and improving the ease of doing business.

Panellists noted that over time it could facilitate the integration of the global economy and help to direct resources to the most productive economic sectors.

The strength of the Middle East’s historical and cultural ties with China was highlighted during the session, with the region’s strategic location making it an ideal hub for trade.

It was noted that while the One Belt and One Road initiative is helping China to transform, it is also creating enormous opportunities for the Middle East, for instance by helping countries to diversify their economies and transition to a low-carbon future, or by creating new commercial openings for companies, including financial institutions.

The UAE is particularly well placed to leverage opportunities from the One Belt and One Road initiative, according to panellists, with the country described as both a passage and a destination, like key international hubs including Singapore and Hong Kong. The global scale and strength of the UAE’s companies was also cited as a factor that will enable further collaboration with Chinese entities.

The session was moderated by Ben Simpfendorfer, Founder and CEO of Silk Road Associates.

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