The 9th Ministerial meeting of the Joint Economic Committee between the UAE and Turkey was held yesterday (Tuesday, February 7, 2017) in the Turkish capital of Ankara. The session was chaired by H.E. Eng. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy, and H.E. Mehmet Şimşek, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey.
Also present were Eng. Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary for Economic Affairs of the UAE Ministry of Economy; Khalifa Shaheen Al Marar, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey; Juma Mohammed Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary for Foreign Trade Affairs of the UAE Ministry of Economy; H.E. Hamad Bouamim, Director General of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI); H.E. Marwan Al Serkal, CEO of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (‘Shurooq’); H.E. Abdullah Al Maeeni, Director General of the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology; and H.E. Fahad Al Obeid Al Tafaq, Director of the Economic Affairs and International Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in 13 vital sectors, namely investment, finance and banking, trade, small and medium-sized enterprises, innovation, civil aviation, renewable energy, telecommunications and information technology, transportation, agriculture, livestock, food, health, education, and tourism.
The two sides also agreed on the need to establish joint initiatives for increasing bilateral trade. They discussed ways to collaboratively improve access to the GCC and West and Central Asian markets. They also committed to deepening ties between their business communities and chambers of commerce and industry and increasing trade cooperation between their private sectors.
H.E. Eng. Al Mansoori said that UAE-Turkish relations have historically been based on mutual understanding and respect for mutual interests, as well as the common desire to deepen bilateral cooperation, particularly at the economic and commercial levels.
He added that the strong economic ties between the two countries is reflected in the UAE’s being Turkey’s top trading partner in the region. Turkey, on the other hand, is the sixth largest importer from the UAE. Their total volume of bilateral non-oil trade exceeded USD 9.1 billion in 2016, mutual investments focused on a number of vital sectors – most notably tourism and hospitality, food, energy, and telecommunications and information technology.
The Minister further noted the incentives and advantages offered by the UAE’s business environment and upcoming opportunities, especially the country’s hosting of major international events foremost of which is Expo 2020. H.E. Eng. Al Mansoori called on Turkish companies and investors to benefit from available investments in the UAE. He also discussed the steps taken by the UAE to cultivate a leading business environment, strengthen local competitiveness, and develop a supportive and stimulating environment for innovation complementing the ambitious vision of upholding a diversified knowledge- and innovation-based economy.
H.E. Eng. Al Mansoori also emphasized the importance of cooperation in minimizing and overcoming obstacles and challenges to the entry and movement of investors in their respective markets. He noted the pivotal role played by the private sector in consolidating the potentials of their economic and trade relations. He also encouraged more visits between the two countries at the government and private sector levels to constantly highlight opportunities and ways to take advantage of them.
For his part, H.E. Şimşek stressed the importance of the Joint Economic Committee’s meeting and the availability of several opportunities for their countries to strengthen economic and trade cooperation in a number of priority areas. He added that the two countries are well-positioned to further expand their economic relations.
H.E. Şimşek shared a number of proposed projects under the privatization program being implemented by the Turkish Government involving areas such as mining, power generation, sugar processing and port management. He noted that these represent opportunities for bolstering the presence of UAE investments in the Turkish market, especially in light of the vast experiences of UAE companies in these fields.
Ambassador Al Marar said that the latest session of the Joint Economic Committee reaffirms the outstanding relations between the two countries, which he affirmed were made stronger after the visit of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to the Turkish Republic last October.
The Ambassador explained that the two sides are fully committed to enhancing economic relations in various fields and reviewed the existing opportunities for the UAE and the Republic of Turkey to take advantage of their unique locations and infrastructure to increase their presence in the regional and international markets. He noted that their countries both recognize the important role of the private sector in their respective markets.