The UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is committed to boosting co-operation with the European Union (EU) based on principles of mutual respect and mutual vital interests driven by the UAE's open foreign policy on economic and trade fields, said Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, during a meeting with Antonio Lopez-Isturiz White, President of the EU-UAE Parliamentary Friendship Group, in Abu Dhabi.
The meeting discussed arrangements and agenda of the upcoming visit by a UAE delegation to the European Parliament headquarters in Brussels next week to explore prospects of increasing joint economic, trade and investment co-operation. Exchange of expertise will top the agenda as the UAE is heading towards a knowledge and innovation-based economy.
Minister Al Mansouri said the visit underscores the UAE's sincere interest in expanding co-operation ties with the EU in general and the European Parliament in particular as the two sides seek to open up new avenues of co-operation and address challenges that might hinder deepening of the constructive partnership between them.
'The visit will constitute an important milestone in the course of enhanced UAE-EU co-operation and partnership under the common and sincere desire to take these ties to new heights,' Al Mansouri said, expressing the UAE's desire to benefit from the EU's vast experiences in advancing its sustainable development process and economic diversification policy which aims to reduce dependency on oil by increasing contribution of other sectors to the GDP through encouragement and support of promising industries.
Al Mansouri hailed the active, vital role of the group in narrowing points of view, bolstering frameworks of partnership and recommending new opportunities of co-operation.
He noted the last May UAE-EU ?Schengen Visa Waiver Agreement would spur trade and tourism exchange, therefore further deepening co-operation and partnership.
For his part, White said the longstanding ties between the UAE and EU were based on mutual respect and interests.
He also expressed admiration at the progress the UAE has achieved in economic, trade, academic and education in part with best international standards.
UAE's non-oil trade with the EU block reached US$ 80 billion in 2014, accounting for 16 per cent of the UAE's total foreign non-oil trade and growing 5 per cent as compared to 2013. As a group, the EU is the key trade partner to the UAE.