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UAE bank aims for Shanghai branch

UNION National Bank will convert its Shanghai representative office into a branch in the near future based on the rising trade between China and the United Arab Emirates, a senior banker said today.

The bank is on track to upgrade to a branch in Shanghai, Mahmoud Halawa, executive vice president and head of the business groups of the bank, said today in Shanghai.

The bank set up its Shanghai office in November 2007 as the first bank from the UAE to operate in China.

The China Banking Insurance Regulatory Commission requires an overseas bank to have a representative office in China for at least three years before establishing a branch.

Overseas banks can do liaison work with representative offices. With branches they can be involved in lending and deposits.

The rising trade between the two sides is creating more business opportunities for the bank, Halawa said.

The bilateral trade between China and the UAE is expected to grow seven-fold to US$100 billion by 2015 from 2006's US$14.2 billion, according to Gulf News.

About 2,000 Chinese firms operate in the UAE and about 200,000 Chinese work in the country, primarily in the construction sector. The UAE has become one of China's top trading partners in the Gulf.


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