UAE-Finland Business Forum explores joint investment opportunities and cooperation
- United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, March 06 - 2013 at 12:19
- PRESS RELEASE
H.E. Jyrki Katainen, Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland, lauded the strong bilateral partnership enjoyed by his country and the UAE stating that both the economies are export driven and dependent on foreign trade, enjoy strategic locations in their respective regions and can learn a lot from each other to further develop their common ideas on investments.
The UAE's achievement is no less than a miracle and its peoples' energy and power of will should encourage others to follow suit, said H.E. Katainen.
The Finnish Prime Minister was speaking at the UAE-Finland Business Forum organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with the Embassy of Finland in the UAE and FinPro, the national trade, internationalisation and investment development organisation of Finland, at the Chamber headquarter on Tuesday.
Also present were H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, H.E Mariam Al Roumi, UAE Minister of Social Affairs, H.E. Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman and H.E. Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai Chamber, Mr. Alexander Stabb, Minister of European Affairs and Foreign Trade of Finland, and over 130 representatives of a cross-section of private sector companies from Finland and Dubai.
H.E. Katainen called for strengthening cooperation between the two countries stating that re-exports accounted for 45% of the country's economy and called upon investors from the UAE and Finland to work together and to benefit from their respective strategic locations as Finland with its East meets West location provides an ideal gateway to many European Union countries including Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, as well as Russia.
The Finnish Prime Minister also said, "Finland is an open economy and welcomes good businesses from all over the world. The Nordic country offers ample investment opportunities in education, particularly in Research and Development, which accounted for three to 4% of the GDP of Finland, as the country emphasised heavily on education which he said is the main source of equality, economic growth, productivity and creativity."
H.E. Katainen stated, "His country's business delegation coming here not only believed in buying and selling goods but in building long-term trade partnerships, as he pointed out at prominent Finnish companies accompanying the business delegation seeking cooperation ties with UAE companies."
In his opening address, H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, called for speeding up the free trade agreement process between the EU and GCC countries on an urgent basis in light of the global economic situation and growth shifting from West to East.
He stressed upon the need to activate the Finnish Emirati joint economic committees for enhancing bilateral trade and establishment of joint investment projects in vital economic sectors reaffirming the emirates' commitment to enhance economic ties with Finland.
The UAE Minister of Economy further stressed that the UAE trade with Finland in 2011 was in the region of $500m annually and will increase dramatically through effective cooperation programmes and joint strategic targets. He also pointed out the areas of cooperation for the economic prosperity of the two countries which he said included SMEs, innovations and R&D in line with the UAE vision 2021 which emphasizes on gradual transfer to a knowledge-based economy.
Al Mansouri informed, "The UAE's public policies stimulated its economic growth and strengthened the country's competitiveness on the international level. Resultantly, the country's economic diversification led to oil contributing 31% of total GDP while non-oil sectors contribute 69%."
He added, "Trade contributes 13.5%, manufacturing 9.1%, construction 11.4%, real estate 10.2%, transport and communication 9% as he said that economic diversification was responsible for attracting foreign investors to the country while the sound economic policies and legislations contributed to the country becoming a gateway to markets in Asia and the Middle East."
Emphasising the importance of the small and medium enterprises, Al Mansouri said that the SME sector serves as the engine of economic growth in the country as it brings forward the innovations of young minds in the society who are willing to establish businesses. He lauded the recent announcement of formulating a committee to establish the region's first SME secondary market by the Securities and Commodities Authority.
He called for the establishment of joint partnerships between UAE and Finnish businesses stating that this latest forum offered the right platform to enhance trade ties and joint cooperation between the two sides.
In his welcome address, H.E. Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber, urged the visiting Finnish business delegation to make Dubai their base as the emirate offers easy access to markets in the region, Asia and Africa.
He said, "The emirate's strategic East meets West location, unconditional government support and lucrative investment opportunities make it an international business hub and one that is safe, stable and growing."
H.E. Al Ghurair further stated, "Trade, tourism, logistics and financial services are the drivers of Dubai's economic growth and hold great potential for Finnish investors as he called upon both the sides to work in their common areas of interest and for the economic development of both their countries."
The Chairman of Dubai Chamber informed, "There was tremendous scope to enhance trade cooperation with Finland as the non-oil trade with the country reached Dhs652m in Q1 2012, making it the 60th country on the list of Dubai's trading partners. He expressed hope that the Forum will lead to a fruitful dialogue for long-term cooperation and enhanced trade ties between the two sides."
Assuring the visitors about Dubai Chamber's commitment to provide all the support to Finnish businesses in order to take their bilateral ties to the next level, Al Ghurair added that the new co-operation between Dubai and Finland could eventually lead to a new phase of economic and trade partnership between them.
He also lauded the role of the Finnish Business Council which is one of the 43 country-specific groups that operate under the umbrella of Dubai Chamber stating that the forum provided an ideal platform to consolidate bilateral relationship with the Finnish companies working in Dubai.
He called upon Finnish investors to come to Dubai and join the multitude of businesses from all over the world working and living here and to benefit from Dubai's promising business environment.
In his presentation on Dubai Economic Overview, H.E. Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai Chamber provided latest statistics on Dubai's economy stating that the Dubai International Airport registered a 13.2% increase in passenger number last year making it the third largest airport in the world as the number of users surpassed the 57 million mark.
Also, the number of flights handled by the airport was 344,245 with a 5.5% growth in comparison to the year 2011 while 5.5 million passengers passed through Dubai Airport in January 2013 which is the highest number in the history of the airport, said Buamim.
The Director General of Dubai Chamber informed that the volume of cargo handled by Dubai Airport rose to 3.9% as it handled a total of 2.28 million tonnes of cargo which clearly shows the rising profile of Dubai as a logistics hub in the region, he said.
He further said, "The number of tourists arriving in Dubai in the first nine months of 2012 was 7.2 million with a growth of 9% while the number of guest nights was 27.2 million registering a growth rate of 15% which shows the leading position enjoyed by Dubai which can be an ideal holiday destination for Finnish travellers."
Highlighting the excellent performance of Dubai Chamber members' exports and re-exports which valued at Dhs268bn last year, Buamim said, "The Chamber's goal this year is to enhance the competitiveness of the emirate's businesses in the overseas markets while also introducing them to the promising markets of the world."
Mr. Alexander Stubb, Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade of Finland, spoke on business and trade opportunities in Finland stating that the country's main selling points were its stable and competent society as well as the strategic location making it the third most competitive nation in the world offering access to over 80 million consumers.
He added, "Finland is a reliable, peaceful and non-aligned country." "You get what you see as we believe in transparency and have a highly educated workforce," said Stubb.
The Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade of Finland highlighted investment opportunities in the area of mining, water resources, bioenergy, timber and construction industries, data centres and ICT.
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