Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy of the UAE, and Rob Nicholson, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, have met to discuss ways of promoting the UAE-Canadian bilateral relations in the service of the common interests of both countries and to explore the latest political regional and international developments.
During the meeting, Minister Al Mansouri emphasised that partnership between the public and private sectors is a key to the creation of a fully-integrated innovative business environment.
In the UAE, he noted, this is being fostered by his ministry in line with the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and that the UAE Cabinet, in November 2014 and in accordance with these directives approved the designation of 2015 as the Year of Innovation, as part of a plan to make the UAE a world innovative leader.
The Cabinet then directed all federal government bodies to boost cooperation and to revise their policies to develop a nurturing environment for innovation.
Minister Al Mansouri also noted that trade between the UAE and Canada went up to AED6.81 billion (around US$1.8) by the end of 2013, a18.1% increase over the previous year.
Trade between the two counties through free zones grew by 169% to reach AED3.56 billion between 2012 and the end of 2013.
The minister also proposed that trade between the two countries should double in the next five years, along with efforts to increase UAE exports to Canadian markets.
He further made note of potential cooperation between the two countries at all levels on exploring investment opportunities in Canada's vital sectors, in addition to involve national small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and large companies in the effort to also tap other international markets.
He also noted that the UAE investments in Canada went up to AED16.2 billion (US$4.4 billion).
More than 46 Canadian trade companies operate in the UAE, along with 63 Canadian trade agencies and 788 trade marks registered with the Ministry of Economy.
Al Mansouri highlighted the global economic stature of the UAE and its high ranking on various indices. He also emphasised that Canadian investments in the UAE could benefit from the country's competitive advantage, including the tax-free business for foreign investors in more than 34 specialised free zones, to tap other markets in the Arab region.
UAE's non-oil sectors now account for 69% of the GDP and the government seeks to decrease dependence on oil through further diversification of income, Minister Al Mansouri noted adding that the national economy grew by 4.8% last year.
Citing forecasts by the International Monetary Fund, the minister expected that the country's economic growth rate to be between four to five percent in the next seven years.
Al Mansouri invited the Canadian side to actively participate in the World Expo 2020 which will represent an opportunity for Canada to promote its tourism and businesses and through which Dubai seeks to raise the bar of global economic events.
For his part, the Canadian minister noted that his visit to the UAE is aimed at opening new avenues of cooperation with the UAE in various sectors, exploring investment opportunities in the UAE as well as promoting the investment opportunities provided by Canada.
Canadian Foreign Minister Rob Nicholson also expressed his country's desire to promote economic relations with the UAE through cooperation in sectors such as renewable energy, mining, advanced industries, food security, agriculture, innovation, FDI, SMEs, as well as in tapping investment opportunities provided by World Expo 2020.
He also praised the UAE's positions on regional and international issues as well as its contribution to enhancing regional security and stability.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the two sides agreed to develop a mechanism for coordination and following up on the latest economic developments as one of the ways of building fruitful economic relations.