DUBAI, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Agricultural producers from China's southwestern Yunnan Province sealed deals with import firms from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), at a forum here on Sunday to expand bilateral trade.
"Yunnan is also called the 'King Province of flowers,' and we are proud to serve the world with a range of high quality agricultural products," said Zhao Ruijun, head of the Yunnan Provincial Department of Commerce.
The UAE, with 10 million inhabitants, must import 90 percent of its food needs, according to the UAE Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade in Abu Dhabi.
According to global consultancy KPMG, the UAE food and beverage market is worth 13.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, because of the Gulf state's role as a travel and tourism destination.
Therefore, public and private institutions are constantly seeking new source markets abroad to ensure food security in the mostly deserted Gulf Arab state, said Abdulla Saeed Salem Al Zaabi, director of External Branches at the Dubai Department of Economic Development.
Al Zaabi said that the UAE is keen on raising China-Emirati relations to the next level and play a major part as a trade hub under the Belt and Road Initiative.
A total of 15 agricultural firms from Yunnan exhibited on the sidelines of the forum. Over 100 local UAE businesspersons examined their products, such as fresh cut flowers, tea, corn, vegetables, fruits and potato chips.
In the first half of 2018, trade exchange between China's Yunnan province and the UAE grew 3 times year on year and hit 280 million dollars, according to Zhao.