The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) has signed an agreement with the Chinese city of Zhongwei in the Ningxia region, to increase bilateral trade as part of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative.

The DMCC believes most of the trade increase will be in the halal food sector, with Emirates Airlines recently launching direct flights from Dubai to Yinchuan, within the Ningxia province. The centre hopes to enable the growth through its online platform Tradeflow, which has the capacity to register ownership and conduct halal certification on UAE-based commodities and storage facilities.

Gautam Sashittal (pictured left), CEO of the DMCC, says: “This collaboration with Zhongwei marks a natural next step in how we seek to drive the future of trade by increasing cross-border efficiencies for those looking to establish a business in Dubai and in the wider Ningxia province. In May, Emirates launched its first direct flight to Yinchuan in the Ningxia province and this is a major lift for us as we aim to boost the commodities trade along the One Belt One Road.”

China is the UAE’s second-largest trading partner, with an estimated value of US$54.8bn in 2015. Bilateral trade has increased by 16% a year over the last six years, and there are 4,200 Chinese companies registered in the UAE.

The DMCC has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), to boost co-operation between the emirate’s leading free zones.

Under the agreement, the two parties will share best market practices and access to technology such as DMCC Tradeflow.