The Business Year

Joint collaborations and building relationships are key to strong bilateral trade.

S Iswaran

Minister for Trade and Industry, Republic of Singapore

The UAE and Singapore have been partners in many areas of mutual interest. The GCC-Singapore FTA (GSFTA), which was signed in 2008 and entered into force in 2013, has had a significant role in growing the mindshare of the UAE amongst Singapore and Singapore-based businesses, and in encouraging bilateral trade and investment. The UAE and Singapore have partnered to seize the opportunities in Singapore and beyond. Under the Abu Dhabi Singapore Joint Forum (ADSJF), led by His Excellency Khaldoon Al Mubaark and myself, we agreed to embark on some collaborations that could be mutually beneficial to both the UAE and Singapore. Arising from our discussion, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has signed an MoU on Financial Technical Cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM). We look forward to more cooperation on this front between MAS and ADGM. We also had discussions on new collaboration using IoT in smart city solutions, and discussed the ongoing and possible new collaborations in the oil and gas sector. Other than the ADSJF, our companies have also formed deep and good partnerships with UAE entities. Boustead Projects Singapore has entered into a co-investment partnership with the Emirati sovereign wealth fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Council. The joint venture, Boustead Development Partnership, has agreed to commit SGD250 million in equity to be invested into the development and redevelopment of new industrial facilities in Singapore. We hope to see more of such collaborations in the future.

Liam Fox

Secretary of International Trade, United Kingdom

Relations between the UK and UAE are strong. They have been fortified over many years and date back over two centuries before its formation. We have rich people-to-people links and more than 100,000 British nationals are currently living in the UAE, with a further 1.5 million visiting every year. Going the other way, there were nearly 300,000 visitors to the UK from the UAE in the first nine months of 2016, a record number. We collaborate in a broad range of areas because we have shared interests. More than 5,000 UK companies operate in the UAE, supporting bilateral trade, which is currently worth around GBP13 billion a year. The UK exports more to the GCC than to China and more than twice as much as to India, and we export more to the UAE than to any other market outside Europe except the US, Japan, and China. The UAE in particular has shown great faith in the strength of the UK economy. Since the vote to leave the EU, the UAE’s sovereign wealth funds have invested approximately GBP1 billion in gas distribution, offshore wind, and urban regeneration in the UK. My department has identified 217 high-value campaigns around the world where our government can help British business win significant deals over the next few years. Of those 217, 10 are in the UAE, in areas such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, creative industries, and energy.

Alexander Mora

Minister of Foreign Trade, Alexander Mora

Up until recently the Middle East was an unexplored region for us. Along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we decided to step foot here to incentivize country-to-country business exchange between the UAE and Costa Rica; we have undertaken a series of visits and have mapped the opportunities we want to explore in the region, and now we look forward to developing a fruitful relationship with the local authorities in the UAE to propel our relationship to the next level. The Emirates is the focal point to the Middle East for us; this country has an extensive business environment, sound financial strength, a unique entrepreneurial spirit, and most importantly offers a complementary relationship for us. We plan on building a comprehensive bilateral relationship inclusive of all sectors, of a dynamic trade exchange, and mutual investments with Costa Rican companies coming to the UAE, and Emirati companies investing in Costa Rica in return. We can build a relationship based on reciprocity and intend to facilitate the landing of companies from both sides. We understand that distance can be a hindrance sometimes, but the differences in our capacities are a strong advantage. This is the perfect time for a perfectly intertwined relationship. During the meetings with my peers in the UAE I noted an enthusiasm that will be highly beneficial in this endeavor; we are both committed to further integrating our countries and our regions.



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