UAE –Saudi Forum discusses ways to take business ties to greater heights


Saudi Gazette report

- The UAE-Saudi Forum, titled “Together Forever,” discussed ways to take bilateral business ties to greater heights.

Minister of Commerce and Investment Majed Al-Qasabi and UAE’s Minister of Economy Sultan Al Mansoori were among the dignitaries who addressed the forum organized by Abu Dhabi’s Ministry of Economy, Department of Economic Development and Chamber of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with the Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp).

Several senior officials, investors, businessmen and businesswomen from the two countries took part in the event, held under the aegis of Abu Dhabi’s Ministry of Presidential Affairs at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

In his speech, Al-Qasabi stressed the importance of the forum as a step to strengthen bilateral ties and constructive cooperation in the vital sectors of the two countries, especially in the economic, trade and investment fields.

He noted that it was agreed to hold this forum every two years and to develop and adapt its mechanism and agendas in accordance with economic, trade and investment developments.

Al-Qasabi emphasized the important role played by the business sector in both countries in harmony with the UAE Vision 2021 and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 which focused on opening up wider areas to the business sector to be an important partner to facilitate its actions and encourage it to grow and become one of the largest economies in the world and become an engine of employment and a source of prosperity for the homeland and welfare for everyone.

The minister stressed the need to achieving the objectives of the forum to develop cooperation and coordination between businessmen of both countries and work to find solutions to overcome the challenges that may limit the development of UAE-Saudi trade and investment exchange.

At the outset of the forum, Saif Mohammed Al-Hajeri, chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development, said that the forum comes as part of the distinguished relations between the two countries, praising the efforts of the Saudi-UAE Coordination Council which represents an exceptional model for serious cooperation and activating its ties.

Addressing the forum, Al-Mansoori noted that the forum reflects the strength of bilateral relations that transcend all diplomatic formalities and not confine to the limits of common interests and they are solid ties based on the fundamentals of civilization, history and Islamic and Arab values.

He said bilateral relations are still witnessing continuous development, driven by the firm will and determination of the leaderships of the two countries, represented by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to promote cooperation between the two countries in various fields of development.

Al-Mansouri pointed out that the figures and indicators of trade and investment reflect the depth of the ties between the two countries and the efficiency of the important efforts as the Kingdom is the fourth largest trading partner of the UAE worldwide and the first Arab partner in 2016. Non-oil trade witnessed a significant leap of 30 percent over the past six years, rising from about 55 billion dirhams in 2011 to more than 71.5 billion last year. The Kingdom is also the third largest importer of non-oil products of the UAE, the second largest country in terms of re-exported goods and the 11th largest exporter to the UAE. The UAE is at the forefront of investors in the Kingdom with a total value of more than 30 billion dirhams ($ 9 billion).

According to Al-Mansoori, 32 major companies and investment groups in the UAE are implementing major projects in the Kingdom, while the balance of Saudi investments in the UAE amounted to about 16.5 billion dirhams by the end of 2015. He pointed out that despite these positive rates, the changes in the current regional and international scene, in particular the fluctuation of oil prices and the various political and economic challenges, require further coordination for our two countries to coordinate their economic partnership and develop new frameworks and approaches for cooperation during the next phase with participation of the private sectors of both sides. "We look forward with great interest to the results of this forum, which is one of the most important fruits of our close rapprochement. We will work to promote economic integration, raise the level of trade exchange, explore opportunities and development projects and open effective investment channels to suit the needs of the next stage as well as exchanging experiences and building new partnerships between the business communities of the two countries,” he said.

Al-Mansoori said the two countries now share many commonalities in their development policies. This is particularly evident in the fundamentals of the UAE Vision 2021 and the Kingdom Vision 2030.

The forum saw three working sessions on “National transformation plans in the two countries under the UAE Vision 2021 and the Kingdom Vision 2030,” “Industrial integration,” and “Women’s role in economy”.

It also discussed ways to enhance cooperation in eight vital sectors including industry, tourism, petroleum, aviation, construction, financial services, foodstuffs, gold, ornaments, medicines and medical equipment.