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UAE is strategic partner and a gateway for Australia to the Middle East, says Al Mansouri

Apr 23, 2011 - 07:38 -

SYDNEY: UAE Minister of Economy Sultan Saeed Al Mansouri has emphasized the attractive investment environment of the UAE and invited Australian companies to visit the UAE to explore investment opportunities in various economic sectors such as industry, petrochemicals, tourism, health, education, agriculture , telecommunication and transportation.

Al Mansouri who headed a delegation to Australia made the remarks at the lunch organized by Barry O'Farrell the Premier of New South Wales who warmly welcomed the visit.

Al Mansouri said the UAE is a strategic partner and gateway fro Australia to the Middle East and the Arab countries.

In his speech Al Mansouri said Australia and the UAE are front-runners in maximizing opportunities for growth across our traditional and emerging economic sectors. Our bilateral relations are now on a strong footing, and ready to take off to new heights. The prevailing economic conditions and growth dynamics in the UAE show further ground for expanding our bilateral exchanges, especially in trade and investment. "We are a one-trillion-dirham economy today, with a growing population of over eight million, forward-looking economic policies and a futuristic infrastructure presenting vast potentials. Geographically, the fastest-growing production hubs and consumer markets in the world lie within striking distance from the UAE," he added.

Al Mansouri said UAE has an unrivalled road transport network, our airlines and airports are among the fastest growing in the world, and sea ports in the UAE are vital links in the global freight traffic. He said last year nearly 30,000 tourists from the UAE visited Australia while 18,000 Australian tourists visited the UAE. "Today the UAE has a well-diversified economy that posses an enormous wealth of creativity, knowledge and innovation. Non-oil sectors accounted for 71 per cent of our gross national product (GDP) in 2009 even when we have the world's seventh largest reserve of oil," he added.

He emphasized the role of SMEs where over 90 per cent of the private enterprises in the UAE are classified as small and medium enterprises (SMEs). These SMEs provide a unique advantage in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship across key economic sectors. We are committed to offering new solutions and creating new frontlines as innovation is the cornerstone of our growth.

He said that Australia as a large country with a strong agricultural sector and vast stretches of arid land, Australia can provide us significant insights in preserving our natural resources and at the same time support our efforts to achieve food security. "The UAE in fact can bridge Australia to the Arab world and beyond. Meanwhile, Australia will find extensive opportunities and resources in promoting domestic growth and exporting its expertise globally," Al Mansouri added.

Al Mansouri and the UAE delegation attended several meeting with Australian officials, they discussed bilateral relations with the National Broadband Network which is an Australian Government initiative that represents the largest ever infrastructure project undertaken in Australia with a capital outlay of over USD40 billion. The NBN is an Australian Government initiative which will deliver high-speed broadband of up to 100 megabits per second to 93%.

The delegation discussed cooperation with the Australian side, which expressed high interests in working with the UAE, in particular renewable energy and clean technology. They also discussed an overview of industry and investment opportunities including Solar Flagships Program. They also discussed Tourism, Commercial and Residential Development and attended a Presentation by Barangaroo Waterfront.

Barangaroo is one of the most ambitious and significant waterfront greening projects anywhere in the world. It will transform a vacant CBD 22 hectare site into a new precinct for Sydney, with a thriving community, residential and commercial heart. Barangaroo is the last harbourside location in the Sydney CBD able to be redeveloped and a once in a lifetime opportunity for the city.

The site was visited by Al Mansouri and presentation illustrated the great and promising opportunities for joint-venture projects between the two countries. The delegation also discussed agribusiness, food, water, meat and chicken. The delegation was divided into groups and this meeting was attended by Ministry of Environment and Water in addition to agricultural companies from the UAE private sector.

The delegation also discussed various financial services that the UAE banks and financing companies are interested in pursuing with the Australian companies including Islamic banking.