UAE Minister of Foreign Trade H.E. Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi discussed methods for enhancing bilateral relations between the UAE and India, during a meeting with V.S. Achuthanandan, Chief Minister of the South Indian state of Kerala. The session focused on trade, investment and economics and is part of H.E.’s current visit to India. The two parties reviewed ways to encourage the business communities of the UAE and Kerala, India, to further develop commercial and investment ties, specifically by leveraging economic and investment potentials to create joint business interests. They commended the exemplary level of bilateral relations between their two countries, particularly in commerce. Sheikha Lubna underlined the UAE’s commitment to further developing commercial exchange and joint cooperation with India, noting that India’s foreign trade with the Emirates reached USD 32.1 billion to represent 15 per cent of the UAE’s total foreign trade in 2008 and making it the Emirates’ top foreign trade partner. The figure, she pointed out, is an impressive 56 per cent increase from the 2007 trade volume. H.E. identified investment opportunities in various fields and explained that the continued growth of both countries will provide significant opportunities for enhancing commercial and economic relations in line with global developments. The UAE Minister called on Indian companies to take advantage of the Emirates’ business-friendly environment, referring to the country’s strategic geographic location; world-class facilities such as ports with high-level operational capabilities; and competitive services. These, she said, promote smooth trade between India and the UAE and with the world. For his part, the Kerala Chief Minister expressed the commitment of Kerala and the whole of India to enhancing inter-governmental and business communications in order to identify and pursue trade and investment prospects. He said that both sides showed great potential and should thus focus on broadening mutual cooperation. The meeting was attended by H.E. Mohamed Sultan Abdalla Al Owais, the UAE Ambassador to India, and H.E. Youssef Ali Abdul Kader, Board Member of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry.