DUBAI, 10th March, 2022 (WAM) — The UAE-New Zealand Joint Economic Committee’s (JEC) eighth session was held recently in Dubai, on the sidelines of Expo 2020 Dubai, chaired by Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Damian O’Connor, Minister for Trade and Export Growth of New Zealand.
Government officials, investors, and business community representatives from both countries attended the session.
The latest edition of the JEC defined seven new tracks aimed at consolidating the economic partnership between the two countries over the next two years, including the development of trade and mutual investment, advanced technology and innovative industries, agriculture and food security, energy and renewable energy, logistics services, tourism, and entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises.
The session also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Etihad Credit Export Insurance in UAE and the New Zealand Export Credit Agency to enhance trade momentum and increase export-related investments between the two countries.
Dr. Al Zeyoudi underlined the depth of UAE-New Zealand relations explaining that the economic partnership has constantly evolved towards further progress and prosperity. In particular, he highlighted the potential for collaboration between the two countries’ business communities, enhancing economic and trade cooperation.
He said, “The non-oil trade between the UAE and New Zealand amounted to nearly AED2.8 billion by the end of 2021, reflecting a growth of 14.2 percent compared to 2020 and a 13.4 percent increase compared to 2019. The UAE is New Zealand’s 10th largest trading partner globally, accounting for 2.5 percent of New Zealand’s foreign trade. We are also New Zealand’s number one Arab trading partner, accounting for 50 percent of its trade with the Arab world. Meanwhile, the UAE’s direct investments in New Zealand totalled AED625 million by the end of March 2021. Meanwhile, New Zealand has investments worth more than AED272.5 million in the UAE.”
Al Zeyoudi highlighted the wide array of flexible legislation recently launched by the UAE within the “Projects of the 50” and the “UAE Centennial 2071” goals to transition to a more sustainable and flexible economic model. These include granting 100 percent foreign ownership of companies and measures to attract talent and competencies to all strategic areas, and enhancing the business environment’s attractiveness before leading companies and start-ups based on technology and innovation.
Furthermore, Al Zeyoudi invited the New Zealand business community to learn about the UAE’s many incentives.
Damian O’Connor added, “We are keen to strengthen our trade and economic relations with the UAE by forging new partnerships with the public and private sectors, in light of what was discussed during the latest JEC session held in the New Zealand Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. We will work to strengthen our cooperation with the UAE in agricultural technology, innovation, and trade facilitation.”
He further expressed his pleasure at the signing of the MoU that outline close cooperation efforts between the two countries in food security and export credit.
The eighth JEC session saw the UAE and New Zealand agree on continuing efforts to explore further opportunities for economic cooperation in priority sectors at the governmental and private levels.
The two sides also agreed on encouraging the business communities of both sides to review prominent opportunities, facilities, and benefits available in both markets and explore new aspects of promoting trade and mutual investment, and enter into private joint investments in sectors of common interest.
The UAE side invited its New Zealand counterpart to participate in the upcoming annual trade and investment events hosted by the country, such as Gulfood, GITEX Technology Week, and the Investopia Summit, which will launch its first session in Dubai on 28th March, 2022, alongside Expo 2020 this year.
The meeting also saw the agreement to strengthen cooperation in the areas of tourism, renewable energy, agricultural security, logistics, entrepreneurship, civil aviation, communications, maritime operations, industrial ports, and free zones, thus developing and facilitating trade and improving the efficiency of supply chains between the two countries.
Moreover, both sides underlined the importance of strengthening research and development partnerships in emerging renewable energy technologies such as battery and solar energy storage and waste conversion and promoting cooperation between companies to invest in this sector.
The importance of exploring opportunities to share experiences in the SME policies and programmes and driving SMEs’ digital transformation and cooperation in developing an advanced technological environment for start-ups and entrepreneurship was also discussed.