Switzerland, UAE seek to strengthen economic ties

Published November 14th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A protocol of cooperation will be signed by Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates on November 15. The agreement will deal with cooperation on economic issues, environment, health, international conferences and culture. 

 

A Swiss delegation of 17 members will visit the UAE November 14-16, during the Swiss Horizons event in Dubai. The event is targeted to boost tourism ties between the countries, as well as direct flight. 

 

"It is Geneva's biggest delegation in ten years," remarked Andre Collomb, deputy secretary general of Geneva's Executive Council, to the Dubai News

 

Of the 2.2 million tourist room nights registered in Geneva last year, 88,000 were visitors from the GCC. The number is expected to reach 100,000 this year, according to Francois Bryand, director of Geneva Tourism. "Given the number of tourists, we welcome direct flights," Muller commented. 

 

Swissair is expected to operate a direct flight between Geneva and Dubai as early as next summer, while Emirates, the flagship carrier of the UAE, will expand its flight frequency to seven flights a week to Zurich. 

 

The economic forum and exhibition will be officially opened by Pasal Couchepin, the Swiss minister of economy and industry. It will focus on Swiss famed sectors such as banking, watch making, food and pharmaceutical products, as well as on areas with particular potential of development such as health, education and new technologies, a Swiss Business Council release conveyed.  

 

Multinational companies like Nestle, Novartis and SGS, the most famous banks, the City of Geneva, Swiss Tourism, large hospitals, Leading academic institutions as well as many medium and small companies will participate and present their latest products and services. 

 

The “Swiss Horizons - Swiss Presence in the Gulf" event opens on November 14 at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. A simultaneous event, featuring 40 Swiss corporations and 10 government organizations, will focus on trade opportunities. The event marks the first time that such a large global Swiss event incorporating business sectors and culture will be presented in the region. 

 

The Swiss view the Gulf region, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as an important avenue for their export growth, Gulf news reported. The country enjoys substantial bilateral trade with Europe and the United States and the nation is eager to boost exports beyond the European Union and to enhance the participation of the government in export promotion.  

 

Currently, the GCC﷓Swiss balance of trade heavily favors Switzerland. The Swiss export luxury brands such as watches and jewelry to the Gulf; other important exports are machinery and pharmaceutical products. Watches comprised 28.2 percent of Swiss exports to the UAE in 1999, while finished precious metals and jewelry constituted 23.5 percent and machinery 20.5 percent of the total. In return, an overwhelming 81.7 percent of UAE imports were dominated by precious metals. — (Albawaba-MEBG)

© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)


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