The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) recently received in its new building a delegation from the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry touring the Gulf Cooperation Council with the aim of enhancing economic ties between European countries and Gulf States.
The delegates were headed by Peter Akradith, Vice-President of the EUROCHAMBERS, who also acts as the President of both the Association of Swedish Chambers of Commerce and the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce.
Present during the event were SCCI Director General Hussein Mohammad Al Mahmoudi and Mohammad Ahmad Amine, the Chamber’s Assistant Director General for Economic and International Affairs. A working meeting was conducted among SCCI Chairman Ahmad Mohammad Al Midfaa; the EU delegates; representatives form the Ras Al Khaimah Government; the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry; the UAE Ministries of Finance and Foreign Trade; representatives from the Department of Planning and Economy and Sharjah Economic Development Department; and the Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain Chambers of Commerce.
The European speakers engaged in spirited discussions where they outlined factors influencing the development and diversification of economic opportunities that the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry could benefit from. They also emphasized the importance of organizing such forums in order to promote the exchange of views, explore opportunities and encourage investments between the EU and the UAE.
The EU delegation also visited the Sharjah Expo Center to attend the opening ceremony of the SCCI-sponsored Steel Fab 2009, the fifth edition of the Middle East’s largest trade show for metal working, metal manufacturing and steel fabrication industries, which was led by H.E. Sheikh Khalid Bin Abdullah Bin Sultan Al Qassimi, Chairman of Sharjah Ports Authority.
In a speech delivered on behalf of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Midfaa said: “This visit is part of our strategy of strengthening communication and cooperation between members of the the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and the UAE Chambers. It plays a crucial role in fostering productive relations between our two sides in various sectors and in launching new projects and initiatives to support our common goal of achieving sustainable development at all of the economic, environmental and social levels. This occasion motivates us to cooperate with investors in the UAE and Sharjah in particular on the adoption of clear procedures to strengthen our position in the European market. The importance of this meeting lies in its ability to enlighten UAE Chambers on investment opportunities in the EU and to facilitate better communication with business and economic organizations in Europe.”
“This gathering enables decision makers of the European Chambers to fully understand business conditions in the UAE in general and in Sharjah in particular, as well as the achievements of SCCI and the UAE Chambers. It also presents the overall transformations adopted by the country as part of its approach to build an economy based on the principles of freedom and transparency in conducting activities and events in line with prevailing global regulations and laws,” he added.
Commenting on the visit, Al Mahmoudi said: “The visit of the European Chambers fall under SCCI’s efforts to expand foreign partnerships in an attempt to strengthen economic cooperation and develop the necessary mechanisms for this goal. It also illustrates the role of the private sector in advancing the process of development, as it opens up broad prospects for investors, whether they are industrialists, merchants or business owners from diverse fields. The Chamber always seeks to provide appropriate business opportunities for its associate members in line with their partnership; and it will continue to pursue initiatives to secure dialogues with various governments and private and foreign bodies in its capacity as the main engine of economic growth in the emirate.”
The Gulf region is the fifth largest market for European exports, while EU countries are the most important trading partners of the GCC states. European exports to the Gulf in fact reached USD 72.46 billion in 2008. GCC exports to the EU countries, meanwhile, are at around USD 494.07 billion and are focused mainly on crude oil and oil derivatives as well as aluminum and mineral products, among others.
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