The UAE Ministry of Economy discusses common economic challenges brought about by COVID-19 with the European Union
The UAE Ministry of Economy (MoE) took part in a video conference organised by the Delegation of the European Union to the United Arab Emirates, with the participation of Trade Counsellors from European Union (EU) Member States represented in the country.
During the virtual session, His Excellency Juma Mohammed Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs, affirmed UAE’s keenness to intensify cooperation with the EU in jointly addressing the economic challenges brought about by the spread of COVID-19.
“At the root of all this tragedy, of COVID-19, is the “shared responsibility” of the international community and the leveraging of extensive dialogue between the public and private sectors as an opportunity to ensure complementarities and synergies”, he said.
H.E Al Kait provided an overview of bilateral trade figures and UAE’s rankings on prominent international indices during the video conference. The UAE currently ranks 22nd globally as the most important trading partner of EU countries and ranks 2nd in the Arab world. In terms of non-oil trade, the UAE is the number one partner of the EU in the Gulf region, he noted.
The UAE also ranks 15th globally as the most important recipient market of exports from the EU, accounting for 1.4 per cent of the total exports of EU countries to the world in 2019. In the Arab world, it ranks the 1st , holding more than 19.2% of the EU’s exports to Arab countries. 40% of the total exports of the EU to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries went to the UAE over the course of year 2019.
With regard to food commodities and manufactures, the EU countries are the most important source for the UAE, constituting more than 15 per cent of UAE’s total imports from these commodities from the world.
Also, more than 43 per cent of UAE’s imports of medical supplies related to COVID- 19 come from EU countries.
Al Kait underlined the country’s determination to enhance cooperation frameworks and provide the necessary assistance to countries in need, adding that the UAE provided worth of 523 tons of medical and food aid to more than 47 countries around the world according to a report by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. These contributions have reached out to more than 523,000 health professionals, he added.
At a national level, the UAE Government has devised a multipronged systemic response to address the repercussions of the crisis on the national economy in two mains phases: The first phase is immediate and provides support and extensive economic stimulus plans to the most affected sectors. The second stage is a long-term stimulus plan for the economy to accelerate recovery and growth.
The UAE has taken strategic measures to stimulate and sustain economic growth through a set of initiatives, including massive economic stimulus packages amounting to approximately AED 282.5 billion (about USD 77 billion) – a value that represents 18.3% of UAE’s GDP; placing the UAE at the forefront of Arab nations in this regard.
The Ministry works in coordination with the federal and local authorities by undertaking intensive efforts that include various teams working around the clock to enhance the business climate and consolidate the concepts of responsible investment and market regulation, while also mitigating the repercussions of the current crisis.
Al Kait further added that the country pays special attention to projects and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – key players in the national economy, to ensure that these companies are able to continue work and production during the pandemic and the post COVID-19 era.
In addition, the meeting reviewed a number of enquiries by the represented Trade Counsellors and representatives of the Chambers of Industry and Trade in the UAE about new incentive packages that the UAE Government can offer to the companies in the next stage.
During his intervention, Oliver Oehms from the German Emirati Joint Council for Industry and Commerce (AHK) commended the agility of the Government UAE in responding to the crisis and the speed at which it introduced various forms of facilities and stimulus packages to ensure business continuity. He added that the UAE’s response to the crisis is among the best, particularly in terms of its logistics services and its ability to manage supply chains and movement of goods without any shortage.