(MENAFN- Emirates News Agency (WAM))
DUBAI, 1st February, 2023 (WAM) -- Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, has highlighted the strong and solid relations shared between the UAE and Ireland with Dara Calleary, Irish Minister of State for Trade Promotion and Digital Transformation.
In a meeting with Calleary - during the Irish government trade mission visit to the UAE - Al Marri said that these ties are founded on the shared visions of the UAE and Irish leaderships on all issues and sectors of cooperation in a way that supports the development goals of both nations and contributes to the prosperity of their peoples.
Bin Touq said, 'We are keen to bolster joint mechanisms to increase trade exchanges with Ireland, stimulate mutual investment flows and diversify them to include areas of the new economy, including AI, space industry, FinTech, and entrepreneurship, among others. The UAE is also keen to create new opportunities for partnership in the next stage in line with our new economic model based on knowledge and innovation, which aligns with Ireland's goals and efforts in digital transformation.'
The meeting saw the two ministers explore means to diversify existing economic relations and strengthen private-sector partnerships in new economic fields. They also discussed new investment opportunities in areas of common interest that can contribute to expanding existing business partnerships sustainably.
Furthermore, the two sides agreed on strengthening cooperation in sectors of the future economy and creating opportunities in the knowledge economy by supporting innovative SMEs through the UAE's Entrepreneurial Nation project, in addition to encouraging innovators from both sides to turn their ideas into profitable ventures.
The two ministers emphasised the importance of cooperation in sectors related to the circular economy and in developing joint initiatives and employment opportunities in sustainability.
The UAE minister highlighted some critical developments in the country's economic environment during the last period, which have contributed to creating a highly conducive economic environment for the growth of businesses and mobilising investments. These developments align with the UAE's future vision, the principles of the 50, and the UAE Centennial 2071 goals.
The most notable include granting 100% foreign ownership, issuing legislation protecting intellectual property, and launching an ambitious national strategy to attract talent and creative minds in all sectors.
Al Marri further invited Irish companies to take advantage of the benefits and incentives provided by the national economy, allowing them the opportunity to grow and expand in the UAE and MENA markets. Opportunities are being created through Investopia summit that redefines the future of investments; and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPA) programme, under which the UAE has signed three agreements with India, Israel, and Indonesia. Negotiations for the establishment of more such partnerships are underway.
Moreover, the meeting highlighted the recently launched UAE tourism initiatives, which propelled the growth of the national tourism sector and consolidated the UAE's position as a sustainable global destination for worldwide visitors. These include the recent UAE Tourism Strategy 2031 aimed at increasing the tourism sector's contribution to the national GDP to AED450 billion by 2031. The strategy seeks to mobilise investments valued at AED100 billion to the tourism sector and attract 40 million hotel guests.
In this regard, the two sides agreed on the significance of creating opportunities for tourism companies in both countries' markets, facilitating their access to the incentives offered by both economies, thereby boosting tourism exchanges and air connectivity.
The meeting also highlighted the significance of the UAE's hosting of the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Abu Dhabi, and its role in promoting the country's influential role in shaping the future of global trade.
Expressing his happiness at visiting the UAE, the Irish minister said, 'It was a pleasure to meet with Minister Al Marri to discuss how we can collectively solve some of the greatest challenges facing our societies, and I look forward to deepening bilateral relations between Ireland and UAE into the future.'
'Trade between our two countries continues to grow year-on-year, and there are many opportunities for innovative Irish companies to support the growth and future vision of the UAE,' he added.
Minister Calleary reiterated that the UAE market contains many promising opportunities that will contribute to the expansion and growth of innovative Irish companies, which in turn will support the new economic model of the UAE.
During the first 11 months of 2022, the volume of non-oil trade between the UAE and Ireland amounted to US$907 million, reflecting a 15% growth compared to the same period in 2021. The UAE is considered Ireland's number one trade partner in the Arab region, with a contribution of 27%, as well as accounting for 45% of Ireland's trade with GCC countries.
As for investments, the value of Irish investments in the UAE reached $292 million by the end of 2020, while the UAE's investments in Ireland exceeded $1.3 billion by the end of 2021, mostly concentrated in fintech, tourism, aviation, food security, and transportation sectors.