As part of efforts to drive private sector growth, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry is actively targeting the Irish market to bring new opportunities to its members across the emirate.
The non-profit organisation is seeking to increase cooperation with Ireland’s agriculture industry in order to help tackle the issue of food security for Dubai and the UAE.
Senior Dubai Chamber officials are also exploring opportunities in ICT, transport, tourism, and finance sectors to enhance economic cooperation and two-way investment.
The move follows a recent visit to Ireland led by UAE Minister of Economy H.E. Sultan Saeed Al Mansouri, which was attended by Dubai Chamber’s Director General H.E. Hamad Buamim.
“In terms of agriculture, Ireland has the potential to become a major market for Dubai and one that can help us seriously tackle the issue of food security here in the UAE,” said H.E. Buamim.
“At present, Ireland exports more than 80% of its agriculture products to 170 different countries and its food and drink exports total almost 9 billion euro. Ireland is a major exporter of beef and responsible for one tenth of the world output of infant formula,” he said.
“The country is also committed to high standards and sustainable farming methods, which are very important considerations today and will help to meet Dubai’s objective of becoming a green economy,” H.E. Buamim said.
“We are seeking to enhance bilateral ties with Ireland to benefit trade and investment and are planning to focus on this market in order to make it more accessible for our members,” he said.
Dubai Chamber is planning to organise a Country Focus Briefing event on Ireland next year which will be a platform for the exchange of expertise and mutual cooperation.
During the Irish visit, Dubai Chamber met with representatives of Enterprise Ireland, the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets, Dublin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and IDA Ireland (Industrial Development Agency), the organisation responsible for the attraction and development of foreign investment in Ireland, to discuss mutual business opportunities.
An Enterprise Ireland representative confirmed that a number of Irish companies will be participating in upcoming exhibitions in Dubai next year, including Arab Health and Gulfood, and that the organisation will be encouraging more to take part in the coming years.
At present, Dubai Chamber has 158 Irish companies among its members, of which eight are full ownership. These are also supported by the Irish Business Council, one of 41 country-specific business councils and 26 sector-specific business groups that operate under Dubai Chamber’s umbrella.
Dubai Chamber is seeking to attract more Irish companies to Dubai as the emirate provides easy access to high-growth markets in the GCC, Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa.
One sector which has recorded strong growth between Dubai and Ireland in recent years is trade. Between 2010 and 2011, Dubai’s non-oil trade with Ireland increased by 28.6% and it is forecast to rise again this year. In 2011, it was worth AED 1.8 billion, making Ireland Dubai’s 67th largest trade partner.
Irish exports to the UAE last year valued 36.39 million euro, the vast majority of which were infant formula followed by dairy, beverages, seafood and meat. This increased from around 32 million euro in 2010 and around 19 million euro in 2009.
Another area of Dubai-Irish business potential which was discussed during the Irish visit is ICT. The country is the second biggest exporter or software in the world and the most competitive in Europe in research and development and the ease of doing business. US investment in Ireland is more than India, China, Brazil and Russia combined.
Dubai’s ICT and consumer electronics trade has increased significantly in recent years and the emirate has strong potential for further growth. Irish cooperation in this regard could help to strengthen business potential further.