H.E. Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of Foreign Trade and Industry at the UAE Ministry of Economy, discussed ways to further develop economic and trade relations between the UAE and Costa Rica with H.E. John Fonseca, Costa Rica's Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade, during the latter's visit at the Ministry's headquarters in Dubai,
The meeting reviewed promising trade and investment opportunities in sectors of mutual interest. It also addressed ways to develop cooperation and exchange experiences to raise economic relations to more diverse and advanced levels.
Participants included H.E. Francisco J. Chacon Hernandez, Ambassador of Costa Rica to the UAE, and Ministry of Economy officials Hind Al Youha, Director for Investment Department, and Majed Al Mazrouei from the Trade Promotion Department.
Both sides agreed on the need to strengthen existing economic and trade partnership frameworks and take advantage of commonalities uniting the two countries, especially their vision of developing a knowledge-based economy driven by innovation and investment in the fields of education, scientific research, and health care. They also acknowledged a shared desire to adopt open trade policies, develop infrastructure serving international trade routes, and benefitting from strategic geographies connected to many promising markets.
H.E. Al Saleh stated that the UAE and Costa Rica enjoy a unique bilateral relationship based on respect and mutual understanding, pointing out that, despite the growth of economic and trade cooperation between their two countries, the current level is still below the potentials and capabilities enjoyed by both countries. He added that their bilateral foreign trade volume reached USD 23 million in 2016.
He also noted that over the past years the UAE has succeeded in transforming itself into a diversified economy which has become less dependent on oil. This, he explained, was made possible through policies that have opened up the country to the world; the development of an attractive environment for foreign investments; the establishment of strong foreign trade relations with various continents; and the development and management of infrastructure and logistics services adhering to international standards. H.E. reviewed the most important determinants of UAE Vision 2021 and the National Innovation Strategy along with efforts to increase quality investments as well as enhance and empower entrepreneurs, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises.
The Undersecretary pointed out that the State of Costa Rica is one of the countries that the UAE wishes to establish successful mechanisms with for the development of economic and trade relations. He commended Costa Rica's competitive and flexible economy which he said is highly capable of growth and which is driven by several development visions complementing those of the UAE. This, he said, provides several cooperative opportunities particularly in the fields of innovation, transport, logistics services, and tourism.
H.E. Al Saleh further stated that enhancing cooperation in the field of air transport is of great importance and should be part of discussions with Costa Rica due to its impact on elevating communication and partnerships between the business communities of both sides.
For his part, H.E. Fonseca said that his country considers the UAE a role model in several fields and an important destination for enhancing cooperation and partnership. He pointed out that his country shares many ambitious development principles and objectives with the UAE, stating that Costa Rica is also focused on diversifying its economy, developing potentials for innovation and education, and enhancing human development.
H.E. Fonseca added that his country has achieved remarkable progress in the education and healthcare sectors, and has also succeeded in enhancing its foreign trade in goods and services with a particular focus on information technology, scientific, and research services.
The Deputy Minister reviewed several promising development projects Costa Rica plans to implement in the fields of infrastructure, transport, port development and logistics services in support of its vision of becoming a regional trade hub. He also shared the progress achieved by his country in terms of clean and renewable energy which represents 99 per cent of the total domestic energy produced.