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Al Mansouri calls for closer ties with Mediterranean countries

posted on 02/07/2008: 1240 views

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, has highlighted the importance of greater co-operation between the GCC and Mediterranean countries at the 6th edition of the Euro-Mediterranean Annual Conference held in Milan. The event was attended by several international dignitaries including Franco Frattini, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Al Mansouri was the primary speaker at the opening session of the conference.

He stressed on the importance of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, which has helped building strategic relations in the region leading to positive impacts on the economies. He said that the challenges faced by economies have a global character, and urged governments to establish strategic relationships to face the challenges faced.

Al Mansouri also met the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy and the Mayor of Milan and discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations between Italy and the UAE. He also signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Milan Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Craft Trade and Agriculture (Italy) and the UAE Ministry of Economy. The memorandum will strengthen the relations between Milan Chamber of Commerce and the United Arab Emirates governmental institutions and business associations.

The MoU also covers aspects of bilateral trade exchange and increasing productivity by implementing technology transfer and exchange of know-how. It works to foster bilateral direct investments flows, and promote cooperation for the development of Islamic Banking & Finance sector.

The MoU also seeks to promote the role of Milan as a "gateway city" for the European market by acting as a catalyst to attract Arab investments to Lombardy and Italy; and also promoting the United Arab Emirates as a financial and economic gateway to the whole Arab region.

"To meet the challenges, we must open doors to new thinking and radical ideas - like the Gulf-Mediterranean partnership. Gulf-Med will make for an amalgamation of developed and emerging economies. By sharing resources as well as best practices, developed economies in the Gulf-Med region can work for the economic growth of emerging markets. These virgin markets in turn will offer opportunities for growth for investors in developed economies," Al Mansouri said.

"There are winds of change across the Gulf region. The economies are opening and there are new investment opportunities in high-growth sectors. The economic initiatives are supported by a strong political will too. Today, e-governance is a norm in the Gulf countries. Single window systems have made our systems efficient and bureaucratic-free," he explained.

He added that it is important to understand the changes in ground realities in the Gulf markets. "Today, the governments encourage a corporate outlook and follow a corporate-like growth strategy. We, in the UAE, already have strong trade ties with several countries in the Mediterranean region and bilateral trade between various Mediterranean nations has grown considerably in the past years." –Khaleej Times


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