His Excellency Engr. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, said that the business and investment relationship between the UAE and Malaysia is established on a strong base given the similar trends and drivers of economic growth in both countries, including manufacturing, new technologies, service and international trade sectors, innovation, research and development, as well as open trade policies and a strong small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector in both countries.
Al Mansoori noted that the UAE is intensifying its efforts to promote its relations with Southeast Asian countries which are among the fastest growing economies in the world, with growth rates exceeding six per cent for some economies.
H.E. the Minister of Economy delivered his speech at the inauguration ceremony of the UAE-Malaysia Business & Investment Forum held in the Malaysian capital's Kuala Lumpur. The event witnessed the presence of H.E. Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, the Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), H.E. Khalid Ghanem Al Ghaith, UAE Ambassador to Malaysia, and H.E. Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs. Participants also included representatives from several agencies, companies, business and investment entities from the UAE, Malaysia and Southeast Asia nations where the registered participating entities reached more than 300. The forum is a major initiative by the UAE Ministry of Economy in cooperation with the Malaysian MITI.
Addressing the challenges
H.E. Al Mansoori noted during his speech that the forum will discuss several topics through seminars and round tables particularly in strategic sectors that are of mutual interest from both parties and will also include a signing of cooperation agreements. One of the key focal points of the event would be the promotion of Halal trade between the UAE and Malaysia, which intends to expand capabilities and expertise in this sector following Malaysia's recognition of the ‘UAE Halal Control System Global Practices.' H.E. also underscored the positive outlook on joint opportunities in the tourism sector between the two countries.
Al Mansoori further emphasized that the forum will also look into opportunities to enhance cooperation in innovation, R&D, clean and renewable energy, real estate development, franchising, technology transfer and infrastructure, as well as explore opportunities on how to increase the visibility of UAE national products in the Malaysian market, which is gateway to other markets in Southeast Asia. He also mentioned that SMEs in the UAE and Malaysian economies are considered among the key drivers of economic growth for both countries.
H.E. the Minister of Economy clarified that the UAE is currently Malaysia's largest trading partner among the GCC countries, where the volume of trade exchange between the two countries stood at AED 15.4 billion in 2016. Malaysia's direct investments in the UAE by the end of 2015 has amounted to AED 1.6 billion, while the value of the UAE's investments in Malaysia for the same period amounted to about AED 8.7 billion.
H.E. added that outlook on global growth and the improvement in oil prices are expected to improve the trade and investment relations and economic cooperation between the two countries.
Al Mansoori also discussed the importance of Malaysia's participation in Dubai Expo 2020, which represents major opportunities for various companies from all over the world.
Al Mansoori added that over the last few decades, the UAE and Malaysia have developed links and channels reflecting their strong partnership--especially across political, economic, social and cultural aspects. The two countries have emerged as leading models for an Islamic economy, which welcomes the creativity and contributions of different cultures from around the world.
For his part, H.E. Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, the Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), emphasized on the importance of the relations between the UAE and Malaysia in terms of economic partnership and the strengthening of strategies for setting up joint projects across the sectors discussed at the conference, which stresses on the significance of seeking to pave the way for investors and business entities from both countries.
The Malaysian Minister of Economy also affirmed Malaysia's support for the UAE's hosting of Expo 2020—sharing that many Malaysian companies will be present at the international event—reflecting their strong appreciation for the UAE.
1,800 projects under the umbrella of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED) to benefit from participating in trade missions
H.E. Abdullah Saeed Al Darmaki, CEO, KFED, said that the fund aims at expanding the entrepreneurial system through the creation of strategic alliances with leading SME development authorities and institutions.
He added that the visit is a great opportunity for UAE entrepreneurs to collaborate on best practices, establish distribution channels and identify technology partners for their existing projects in the UAE. He noted that it is part of a comprehensive agenda implemented by KFED throughout the year, as there are more than 1,800 projects that can benefit from these trade missions.
For his part, Mohammad Nasser Al Zaabi, Director of Trade Promotion at the MOE made a presentation on the UAE's economic policy foundations, and the directives of its development vision 2021, its leading and competitive indices, as to introduce the Malaysian investors to the national business environment.