Posted On 9/19/2017
UAE-Iraq Trade and Investment Forum discusses increasing joint investments in Iraq
Organized by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in cooperation with the UAE Ministry of Economy, and attended by His Excellency, Eng. Sultan Bin Saeed Al-Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy; His Excellency Mohamed Shi’a Al-Sudani, Iraqi Minister of Industry and Minerals; His Excellency Mohammed Thani Murshid Al-Rumaithi, Chairman of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and more than 300 Emirati and Iraqi companies operating in different investment sectors, the UAE-Iraq Trade and Investment Forum kicked off this morning at Bab Al-Qasr Hotel in Abu Dhabi.
His Excellency Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy; His Excellency Hassan Al-Shehhi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the UAE to Iraq; and His Excellency Dr. Raad Al-Alousi, Ambassador of Iraq to the UAE, attended the forum as well.
At the beginning of the opening forum, H.E. Eng. Sultan Bin Saeed Al-Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, said that organizing this forum reflects the shared interests of the two countries to increase the level of their relationship to new heights, noting that the bilateral economic cooperation process is exposed to huge capabilities for development and integration. He expressed his appreciation to the efforts of H.E. Minister Mohamed Shi’a Al-Sudani in this regard since this is his second visit to the UAE during the past three months.
“This reflects his true desire and endeavor to push the wheel of cooperation between the two countries forwards. Organizing this forum comes to complement such efforts since it provides a pivotal stage to discuss the means of deepening trade and investment ties and exploring cooperation opportunities between the two sides.”
Al-Mansouri added that economic relations between the UAE and Iraq witnessed unprecedented growth over the past years thanks to the will of the two countries to strengthen their relationships on all levels.
Volume of non-oil trade between the UAE and Iraq reached a relatively high rate at $11 billion. “Considering the complicated geopolitical challenges and high rate of economic variable in the region over the few past years, we view this rate of trade as a positive indicator that expresses the awareness of both countries to build strong and sustainable trade partnership,” the Minister said.
Al-Mansouri remarked that the UAE has launched its national strategy for innovation, which aims at placing the UAE amongst top world countries by 2021 by motivating innovation in seven key sectors including renewable energy, transportation, healthcare, education, technologies, water and space. “The UAE has also made huge steps forward in improving the sectors that support the process of sustainable development including infrastructure, trade, logistics, financial services and property development,” he added, emphasizing that this effective policy helped in increasing the contribution of non-oil sector to the GDP by 70%. “Efforts are still being exerted to increase this percentage to 80% by 2021 in order to establish the bases of post-oil economy which will be based on sustainable growth, high productivity and huge competitive capabilities.”
Al-Mansouri added that Iraq is one of the effective countries in regard to economic development in the region and is one of the important regional destination to the UAE in regard to developmental cooperation. “We look forward to discover the opportunities Iraqi markets offers, which are starting to recover and regain developmental aspects. We are aware to increase the level of investment cooperation in a way that contributes to rebuilding the economy of Iraq and pushing the development process in its different key sectors,” he stated.
Al-Mansouri pointed out that there are huge opportunities before the private sector in the UAE and Iraq to enforce this cooperation and contribute to developing inter-trade and starting investment partnerships that achieve the best interest of both sides. “Through such partnerships we aim at increasing the presence of Emirati products in Iraqi markets, especially that such products proved their high quality and ability to compete; in contrast, Iraqi products can benefit from the open trade environment of the UAE and enter the local markets, or even benefit from its position as the third biggest re-export hub in the world.”
He pointed out that in order to reactivate future cooperation, we are required to intensify dialogue and coordinate to find proper means of increasing cooperation on all levels. “This forum can provide the umbrella under which we can achieve this shared goal by increasing communication channels and discussing the means of seizing opportunities and overcoming challenges which would answer the desire of both countries to move forward towards a sustainable development,” Al-Mansouri concluded.
For his part, Mohamed Shi’a Al-Sudani, Iraqi Minister of Industry and Minerals, called on Emirati businessmen, investors and companies to increase their investments and presence in Iraqi markets, emphasizing on the desire of the Iraqi leadership to benefit from the exceptional experience of the UAE in economic development and empowering key sectors as well as supporting the development process in all fields and on all levels.
His Excellency Mohammed Thani Al-Rumaithi, Chairman of the Federation of the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber, emphasized in a press statement on the interest of businessmen and companies in the UAE and Abu Dhabi in entering and investing in Iraqi markets. He noted that the forum represents a unique opportunity to take a closer look at the procedures that govern the investment process and practicing businesses and the role which Emirati companies can play in supporting the comprehensive economic and social economic development process in Iraq, “especially that our companies possess long experiences in executing projects and have wide international networks to support this role,” he added.
He stressed that the Abu Dhabi Chamber works effortlessly to support the role of companies in the emirate, noting that they possess a great record of accomplishments and experiences in the fields of oil, contracting, construction, telecommunications, education, banks, stock markets, and property management, pointing out that these companies have the desire to contribute to executing projects in Iraq and to support the development process there.
Al-Rumaithi added that the private sector in Abu Dhabi is ready to increase its contribution and to meet the demands of Iraqi markets and to participate in executing construction projects and developing the infrastructure towards a more prosper and developed Iraq.