UAE and France have explored means to boost bilateral trade and investments in various fields such as new economy, technology, entrepreneurship, tourism, circular economy, family businesses, renewable energy and agriculture.
The UAE Minister of Economy, Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, met Olivier Becht, Minister-in-Charge of Foreign Trade, Attractiveness, and French Nationals Abroad; Nicolas Niemtchinow, French Ambassador to the UAE; and several other French government officials who are currently on an official visit to the UAE.
The meeting also decided to enhance the existing economic partnership agreements between the UAE and France.
The Minister of Economy emphasised that the UAE-French relations are distinguished by strong and sustainable strategic partnerships that span all fields, thanks to the support and forward-looking vision of both leaderships.
He highlighted the recent exchange of a number of high-level visits between the two countries, most notably that of President HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to France last May. This is a clear indication of the two countries’ shared aspirations to solidify bilateral relations on various fronts.
He added: “The UAE-France Business Council, which was established recently, now facilitates the strengthening of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. The UAE is keen to enhance our investments in French markets to support the sustainable development of both economies.”
Meanwhile, the French minister said: “France and the UAE enjoy strong and privileged economic and trade relations, and the UAE is one of our key trade partners in the region.”
UAE-France Business Council
“The recently established UAE-France Business Council contributes to the strengthening of economic cooperation with the participation of a large number of French and UAE companies. Also, investment exchanges between the UAE and France are witnessing significant growth across various sectors of shared interest,” he added.
Moreover, the UAE and France explored ways to enhance bilateral trade by facilitating import-export procedures for the private sector and supporting private investment and trade opportunities in both markets. The meeting further discussed knowledge and expertise exchange across circular economy sectors, as well as mutual investment opportunities in other key sectors.
Another key topic of discussion was the strengthening of cooperation to accelerate SMEs’ growth in the two countries’ markets by offering new programmes and facilities which drive investment across technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and circular economy industries and support access to new markets. This will help enhance SMEs’ contribution to both countries’ GDP.
Number of unicorns
Besides, the meeting agreed to facilitate the exchange of expertise and leverage both the UAE’s and France’s potential to increase the number of unicorns in their markets in line with their strategic visions and objectives in this regard.
Furthermore, the two ministers addressed the strengthening of bilateral ties in tourism and aviation by enhancing air connectivity between the two countries. Currently, there are 282 flights per month connecting the two markets, operated by the Emirates airlines. In 2022, the number of French tourists to the UAE crossed 490,000, an increase of nearly 20,000 compared to that of 2021. The French diaspora in the UAE is made up of more than 30,000 residents.
Bin Touq briefed the French minister on the economic policy adopted by the UAE to build a competitive investment environment and drive new prospects for growth. The policies include providing supporting incentives and enablers that encourage the private sector to invest and expand in the UAE market, amendments to the commercial companies law to allow 100% foreign ownership, and the modernisation of the country’s residency regulations to attract entrepreneurs, skilled people, and talent and drive the growth of businesses and trade and economic activities. He noted that over 12,500 French business licences are active in the country as of July 10, 2023.
Also reviewed were the UAE economy’s outstanding performance in 2022, reflected by the unprecedented 7.9% growth in the country’s GDP and the 17% YoY growth in non-oil foreign trade. The UAE also attracted FDI worth $23 billion, up 10% compared to 2021.
Bin Touq urged the French minister to participate in the third edition of Investopia, which is set to be held from February 28 to 29, 2024 in Dubai, to leverage the promising investment opportunities offered by the UAE as a global trade and investment hub for the fastest-growing markets in the world.