His Excellency Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, said that developing the food industry and increasing local production is strategically important to Arab countries looking to achieve food security.
The food industry in the UAE is already witnessing phenomenal growth following the government’s efforts and directives to support the industrial sector and boost performance of national industries, Al Mansoori said while announcing that the Ministry of Economy will participate in the First Arab Food Industries and Franchising Forum to be held in Jordan in February 2011.
The two-day forum will be held at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre at the Dead Sea, Jordan, from February 1 to 2.
"We see the First Arab Food Industries and Franchising Forum as an ideal platform to highlight the national food industries in the UAE, share our experiences with our Arab brethren and build partnerships with leading companies. We also look forward to participating in a working paper on the evolution of the food industry in the UAE and how collaboration can support this vital sector in the Arab countries. Our participation will also allow us to review the challenges facing Arab food industries and propose solutions that would ensure food security and global competitiveness of the industry.”
Al Mansoori said Ministry of Economy accords top priority to the industrial sector in the UAE as it plays a key role in the national gross domestic product (GDP) and economic diversification. The contribution of the industrial sector to the GDP in expected to reach between 20% and 25% in the coming years, compared with 16.2% in 2009.
The food industry in the UAE has seen steady growth over the past years as a result of a growing industrial infrastructure. More than 150 food manufacturing units operate in the country today and the food industry accounted for 46 per cent of the total investments in non-oil industrial sector in the country.
Al Mansoori said the Ministry has lunched major initiatives to support the local food industry including incorporating online Certificates of Origin in Arabic to facilitate procedures for investors. With this service, the merchant or the producer can request for a certificate of origin online and update or change the contents of the request any time. The service is also available in English.
The Ministry has also introduced the Certificate of Origin form (A) Generalised System of Preferences, which will give privileges to UAE exports, especially for national products, through reduced customs duties in 38 member states.
The Ministry in association with Dubai e-Government and Tejari, has also set up an interactive website - www.madeintheuae.com - to allow manufacturers in the UAE to promote their units, products, and services among buyers all over the globe.
His Excellency Amer Al Hadidi, Minister of Industry and Trade of Jordan expressed his appreciation for the support of the UAE Ministry of Economy for the First Arab Food Industries and Franchising Forum, adding that the UAE’s presence will enrich the debate at the forum and promote joint Arab action to strengthen the food industry.
The Jordanian Minister reiterated that the UAE is a strategic economic partner to Jordan and said the forum will further enhance bilateral trade relations.
The forum will address a range of strategic issues critical to the future of the Arab food industry as well as the impact of the global economic crisis on the industry. The participants will also discuss nanotechnology, creating better foods, franchising and investment opportunities in the Arab food industry, said Emad Abu Rafi, Director-General of the AR group, the organiser of the forum.