H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises, representing the UAE, participated in the recently held UAE-US Innovation and Investment Summit. The Summit was aimed at exploring more cooperation opportunities in the next phase to expand and develop UAE-US trade exchanges and mutual investments with greater participation of private sector companies from both sides. It was also aimed at facilitating fruitful partnerships in sectors that support the sustainability and innovation agenda of the two countries.
In his speech, H.E. Al Falasi underlined the strength and durability of the UAE-US economic relations, which are reflected in the volume of mutual investments, as the UAE’s investments make up the largest share in the total Arab investments in the US markets, at USD 44.7 billion by the end of 2020. The UAE also ranks first in the Arab world and the 20th globally among the most important countries investing in American markets. The UAE’s investments in research and development activities related to innovation and technology in the US amount to nearly USD 1.7 billion and they have contributed to supporting US exports worth USD 1.3 billion. Meanwhile, the total value of FDI inflows into the UAE from the US amounted to USD 19.4 billion by the end of last year.
H.E. expressed the UAE’s desire to maintain the current momentum in the trade and investment partnership between the two countries, highlighting the importance of working closely to encourage the flow of mutual investments in the next stage and facilitate the access of Emirati and American companies to promising opportunities in each other’s markets. He pointed out the UAE companies’ keenness to invest in technical industries, smart chip manufacturing, semiconductors, IT projects, and G5 communication networks among others. Furthermore, Al Falasi explained that the total value of investments by UAE companies in the US in R&D activities related to innovation and technology exceed USD 1.7 billion today.
In addition, the Minister reviewed the UAE’s efforts in the field of intellectual property and safeguarding inventions, innovations, and trademarks, and the creative work of individuals and companies in the UAE, in a way that advances the knowledge economy and enhances global investors’ confidence in the country’s markets. He also reviewed the new updates issued by the UAE, in partnership and communication with the private sector to ensure its contribution to the formulation of these leading legislation, including the Industrial Property Law to protect patents, Utility Certificates, Industrial Designs, and the Trademarks Law, which provides legal protection for corporate trademarks and addresses counterfeiting and commercial fraud practices.
Furthermore, H.E. Dr. Al Falasi explained that the UAE is now the most active, developed, and fastest growing economic center in the region. It enjoys a remarkable strategic location as well as strong financial reserves, large sovereign wealth funds, great spending on development projects, in addition to a solid, stable, and flexible economy, an attractive and flexible tax policy that contains no income taxes, political stability, a safe and open environment, and a tolerant and multicultural society. The UAE is among the top 20 best countries to live in, according to various global studies.
During the Summit, H.E. Al Falasi briefed American businesses and companies on the most prominent projects adopted by the UAE government to support the country’s transition into a new economic model in preparation for the next 50 years. Most notably, he reviewed the ‘Entrepreneurial Nation’ initiative, an integrated gateway towards establishing a new economic phase based on innovation and the empowerment of entrepreneurship. It is aimed at driving a qualitative shift in the supportive environment for entrepreneurship, start-ups, and small and medium-sized enterprises in the UAE through a series of partnerships – the largest of their kind between the government and private sectors, including business incubators, local finance funds, chambers of commerce, and local and global private companies.
Attendees were also briefed on the most recent projects launched by the Government of the United Arab Emirates within the projects of the 50’s framework, in particular, the 10 x 10 Programme for the Development of UAE Exports and the Consolidated Investment Platform, which serves the ease of businesses and the establishment of projects and investments in the United Arab Emirates through digital channels and proactive services, as well as the initiative of the Emirates Investment Summit “Investopia”, which will hold its first session in March 2022 at Expo 2020 Dubai events.
In addition, H.E. Al Falasi reviewed a number of other initiatives included in the ‘Projects of the 50,’ including updates to the country’s residency system, as well as the expansion of the categories of Golden Visa and the introduction of new residence systems such as green visas and freelancers’ visas. These are set to contribute to increasing the attraction of investment, talents, and leading entrepreneurs to the UAE. H.E. also reviewed the comprehensive economic partnership program pursued by the UAE and its broad prospects for trade development and facilitation, investment promotion and the enhancement of the UAE’s role in this regard to drive development across the region and the world.
The non-oil trade between the two countries has shown significant growth in recent years, rising from USD 5.22 billion in 2005 to USD 17.83 billion in 2020. For the 12th consecutive year, the UAE ranked first in the region and 19th in the world on the list of the largest receiving markets for American exports in 2020, as the United States’ exports to the country amounted to USD 14.75 billion last year. During the first half of 2021, total foreign trade between the two countries exceeded $11 billion, indicating continued growth in trade between the two countries by the end of the year.