The UAE’s export credit agency Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI) has partnered with three Chinese banks in a bid to boost non-oil trade and investment between the UAE and China.

The agreements, signed with China’s export credit agency Sinosure, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Bank of China, are expected to strengthen ECI’s position in China.

The agreement with Sinosure will see the two government agencies collaborate in areas of insurance and co-insurance, commercial information and credit opinion sharing, sharia-compliant solutions, trade promotions, international investments and SME programmes. Under the two other agreements, ECI will work with ICBC and Bank of China in areas of trade credit insurance – both conventional and murabaha – and export financing.

ECI started operations in February 2018, having been established by the UAE governments to support the export of non-oil goods and services.

China will undoubtedly be an important focus for ECI: the country is today the UAE’s largest trading partner, and this role is only set to grow as China continues to expand its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

As previously reported by GTR, the UAE is already an important part of the Chinese megaproject. In July last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping made his first visit to the country, which brought about a raft of deals, including the signing of a framework agreement between the China-UAE Industrial Capacity Co-operation Demonstration Zone and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the emirate’s financial free zone.

According to the UAE ministry of economy, non-oil trade between UAE to China reached US$43bn last year, making up 9.7% of the UAE’s total non-oil trade. Total bilateral trade between the two countries, according to the ministry, amounted to US$60bn in 2018, which the nations are aiming to grow to US$70bn in 2020.