The UAE and Saudi Arabia are intensifying cooperation to boost investment and trade opportunities, officials said during the UAE-Saudi Business Forum in Abu Dhabi. Special exemptions will be given to Saudi firms investing in Abu Dhabi.
Saudi and UAE have launched initiatives identifying eight sectors as priority areas including transport, health, oil and gas, and SMEs.
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“We are witnessing an important era in the GCC, of a partnership between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. There is a proactive focus to work together bilaterally,” said Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy while speaking at the UAE-Saudi Business Forum in Abu Dhabi.
Al Mansouri underscored the importance of working closely due to volatility in oil prices. “We need to enhance economic cooperation and open more channels of investment.”
The two countries are diversifying their economies and are looking for more investment to increase their revenue due to low oil prices.
Saudi Arabia has opened a number of sectors of its economy to attract foreign investment as part of the Saudi Economic vision 2030.
Al Mansouri pointed out that the UAE and Saudi Arabia share many commonalities in their development policies, including UAE Vision 2021 and Vision 2030 of Saudi Arabia. “This harmony of visions and policies provides a solid foundation for further progress in trade and investment to enhance cooperation between the two countries.”
On bilateral trade front, there was a 30 percent increase in non-oil trade between the two countries in the last six years jumping from Dh55 billion in 2011 to more than Dh71.5 billion last year.
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UAE ranks as the top investor in Saudi Arabia with investments totaling about Dh30 billion, whereas Saudi investments in the UAE stand at Dh16.5 billion, Al Mansouri added.
Speaking at the same forum, Saif Al Hajeri, chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development said Saudi investors will get many exemptions if they invest in Abu Dhabi and the exemptions will be related to land, lease and rents.
He also said Saudi companies will get a 15 percent discount in rents and leasing land in Kizad (Khalifa Industrial Zone). The department will also open a fast-track window for approvals for businesses coming to Abu Dhabi from Saudi Arabia.
The two countries signed three agreements during the forum including an MoU to boost business activity, joint investments in agriculture and an agreement related to corporate governance between UAE-based Hawkamah and Saudi governance centre.
By Fareed Rahman
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