The Kingdom of Bahrain hosted the first ‘Russia-GCC Trade and Industrial Dialogue’ which was held in Manama from 14th to 15th December and attended by key officials and private sector representatives from Russia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The event was organised by the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, and supported by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in Bahrain (MOIC), the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and the Federation of GCC Chambers of Commerce.
Trade and industry ministers from GCC countries and Russia, as well as a range of private sector representatives, participated in sessions which focused on Russian–GCC business collaboration and investment opportunities in a range of sectors including infrastructure development projects, manufacturing and industry, agriculture, energy and Islamic finance.
HE Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications and Acting Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), participated in a panel session under the title ‘Russian-Arabic Business Collaboration – New Horizons and Opportunities’. HE the Minister highlighted Russia’s importance as a trading partner for the Gulf region, being one of the world’s leading economies. He also stressed efforts by the GCC and Bahrain to build business ties with a large range of international markets.
HE Kamal bin Ahmed emphasised the importance of this forum, which builds on earlier visits such as His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s historical visit to Russia in 2008 and the high level business delegation to Russia this year led by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, First Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the EDB, which saw the signing of a number of MoUs between the two countries.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Industry and Commerce, HE Zayed bin Rashed Al Zayani confirmed the importance and willingness of the government to further develop the Kingdom’s economic relations with various countries of the world, noting that according to UNCTAD, Bahrain attracted $989m US dollars of foreign investment in 2013, an increase of 11 per cent from the previous year. HE the Minister highlighted that the relations between Bahrain and Russia were strengthened following the historic visit of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the visit of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, First Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the EDB.
During the event, a meeting was held between HE Kamal bin Ahmed and HE Denis Manturov, Minister of Trade and Industry of the Russian Federation and attended by a number of high level officials. The meeting included discussions on opportunities to strengthen trade and industrial relations between the two countries in various sectors, as well as investment cooperation through joint Bahraini-Russian agreements.
The Government of Bahrain also recently announced that it has revised visa policies for Russian citizens visiting the Kingdom to encourage business and trade between the two countries, whilst Gulf Air, the national carrier of Bahrain, announced the launch of a new direct route from Moscow to the Kingdom.