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Italian premier urges closer economic cooperation with UAE businesses

posted on 21/11/2012: 1589 views

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti yesterday called upon UAE and Italian companies to build a strategic partnership by exploring investment opportunities offered by each other's countries.

Monte also urged Italian businesses "to establish a strong base here for expansion into the region while urging UAE traders to enhance their cooperation and ties with his country's SMEs who are their natural partners." The Italian Prime Minister was speaking at the UAE-Italy Business Forum organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with the Italian Embassy in the UAE, at the Chamber's headquarters on Tuesday.

Also present were UAE Minister of Economy, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Chairman of Dubai Chamber, Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Director General of Dubai Chamber, Hamad Buamim, and representatives of the private sector companies in Dubai.

The Italian premier said: "We have to exploit the complementarity of our two economic systems. Synergy and co-investments between Italy and UAE should become a by-word for the development of initiatives in the GCC market but also in third countries, especially in North Africa." "This is the way ahead, this is the strategy we define as crucial for the future. We can help this process by removing the institutional obstacles to this natural development by providing an effective legal, financial and regulatory framework for business," Monti added.

"The UAE is our most important trading partner among all the Arab countries. Italian exports to the UAE increased 28% in 2011 to a total of 4.7 billion euro and we are likely to do even better in 2012 given the results from the first six months (3.2 billion euro)," added H.E. Mario Monti.

Lauding the role of the UAE leadership in the economic development of the country, the Italian Prime Minister said : "the UAE leadership has taken the wise decision to diversify the economy away from the previous reliance on oil and gas and the country's foreign investment strategies would gain from becoming more diversified and less dependent on traditional destinations." "The UAE is now very successfully focused on the service and manufacturing sectors, which are the areas where we see the highest potential in our cooperation with the country," premier Monti further said.

The Italian Prime Minister described that his country's specialised manufacturing districts as" models of cluster development. Investment in them would help the UAE economy become even more independent from oil and gas, and advance the government objective of achieving a greater focus on a knowledge-based economy." "Italian companies need to further explore the opportunities offered by the dynamic economy here in the UAE. This country, and especially Dubai, is a natural hub for serving the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

"The development of a more structured presence here would allow companies and their Emirati partners to establish a more effective base to serve the vast markets of those macro-regions," said H.E. Mario Monti.

He further stated that the reform package introduced by his country has significantly reduced red tape and modernised the public administration, strengthened the legal framework, increased competition and made the labour and the overall economy more flexible and dynamic.

In his opening address, the UAE Minister of Economy, stated said this forum is the latest step in efforts by the UAE and Italy to enhance bilateral relations. "It is a journey we are all enthusiastic to be making and it comes from a foundation of strong trade and business ties," he said.

Al Mansouri further stressed that over the past decade, non-oil trade between the UAE and Italy has increased by 295%. It has risen from Dhs5.5bn in 2001 to just under Dhs21.9bn in 2011, he added.

"This huge growth is an indicator of our good relations and shows the excellent potential we have for economic growth moving forward," said Al Mansouri.

The UAE Minister of Economy informed that trade between the two countries has continued to climb by 20% during the first quarter of this year and is forecast to continue upwards in the short to medium term.

He also said that the two countries were well connected by air and sea. However, further destinations would help drive growth in trade and tourism while at the same time bringing the UAE and Italian business communities closer together.

Al Mansouri also stressed on opportunities for further UAE-Italian partnerships in agriculture, construction, the green economy, fashion, mechanics, and logistics and emphasised on stronger cooperation for economic development of both the countries.

In his welcome address, Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber, said that this particular forum will help enhance bilateral relations and open up opportunities for business partnerships between the UAE and Italy.

He called upon more Italian businesses to use Dubai's excellent infrastructure and modern facilities and also to benefit from the emirate's status as an ideal gateway to new business opportunities in the region and beyond.

For his part, the chairman of Dubai Chamber said: "As a pillar of Dubai's economy, trade is a good indicator of economic ties and Dubai's trade with Italy has increased significantly over the past nine years. In 2002, it valued at Dhs4.7bn, but increased to Dhs17.8bn in 2011 which is an increase of 278% while presently there are 234 Italian partnership companies operating as members of Dubai Chamber." He further stressed that as part of its strategic objectives of supporting the development of business and promoting Dubai as an international business hub, Dubai Chamber is committed to providing full support to Italian businesses looking to invest in the emirate.

Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair also lauded the role of the Italian Business Council which he said operates under the umbrella of the Chamber and does an excellent job in providing all the support to the Italian business community while contributing to the economic growth of the emirate.

He called upon the Italian companies to participate in major annual international exhibitions held in Dubai as these events attract global businesses and provide direct access to key consumer markets in the Middle East, India and Africa, he said. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


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