Hani Al Hamli: Netherlands to be a strategic partner in the field of innovation

DUBAI, 4th February, 2015 (WAM) — Hani Al Hamli, Secretary General of Dubai Economic Council (DEC) has said that DubaiUAE economic and trading ties with the Kingdom of Netherlands have witnessed rapid growth over the last few years.

He also said that DEC is looking forward to harnessing the potentials of Dutch companies to support Dubai’s bid to turn into the most innovative city.

He made this statement during the recent visit of the Netherlands embassy delegation to the DEC. The delegation was headed by Jennes de Mol, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Abu Dhabi. Robert J.H. de Leeuw, the Consul General of the Netherlands in Dubai was accompanying him.

The DEC delegation includes Prof. Abdulrazak Al Faris, Deputy Secretary General for Economic Affairs, Tarek Hajjiri, Director of legal Policy, and Ali Al Kaitoob, Manager of Strategic Alliances.

Al Hamli introduced the DEC mandates and its role in Dubai economy. He said DEC is tasked with the mission of aising the Government on various economic policy issues to promote the formulation of knowledge-based and sound economic policies.

Al Hamli then pointed out that Dubai and he Netherlands enjoy similar strategic location regionally and globally. Dubai is the cross-road of regional and global trade, connecting east to west, through the Middle East and Africa. The Netherlands is one of the world major trading economies. Its strategic location towards north-west of Europe makes it one of the most dynamic hubs of trade and businesses globally and a major logistics gateway to other European markets such as the UK, Germany, France and other European countries.

The DEC Secretary-General referred to the local statistics that unveil that over the last five years, the trading relations between the UAE and the Netherlands reached 32.8 billion dirhams. The Netherlands is ahead the major destinations for the UAE exports (3 billion dirhams), and re-exports (5 billion dirhams), whereas UAE imports from the Netherlands accounts 24.8 billion dirhams.

“Despite the rising trend of relations between the two parties however, we look forward to turn these relations from merely ‘collaboration’ into ‘strategic partnership’ this can be only materialized through finding our critical projects and deals that bring about paradigm shift to Dubai’s bid to be the most innovative city,” Al Hamli said, adding “The first step in partnership way with the Netherlands started with the prospective strategic partnership with the economic councils as well as other institutions in Netherlands.” Prof Abdulrazak Alfaris gave snapshots on the research activity of the DEC. He said that to fulfill its mandate, the Council has built a decent research capacity that has allowed producing rigorous policy-oriented research and supported evidence-based policy dialogue among representatives of the public and private sectors and leading thinkers and academics on relevant issues of development policy.

Tarek Hajjiri has presented a synopsis on strategic partnership between the DEC Royal Philips in terms of their joint brand new initiative “the spirit of Innovation” that includes several activities, among others was the UAE universities students innovation competition that has been announced last year and a party of awarding the winners has been conducted last month.

Dutch Ambassador Jennes de Mol expressed his good impression on the rapid economic development in DubaiUAE. He also praised the multinational society of the UAE which reflects its openness to other civilizations and the open skies that the government aocates over the years.

Mr. de Mol stressed that among the functions that the Netherlands’ embassy and Consulate in the UAE is to provide enhanced business environment for both Dutch and Emiraties businesses to collaborate for the favour of their economies. Additionally, a Dutch Investment Office has been set up in Dubai in 2006 to promote trade and investment between itself and the GCC region.

“Moving forward, we are seeking to ensure the significant involvement of Dutch businesses in Expo 2020, and the critical access to Dubai’s future market is through innovation”, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands concluded.

Dutch Counsul General Robert H.J. de Leeuw underlined that the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frans Timmermans, was the third to announce his official support for the UAE’s bid to host Expo 2020 in Dubai in September 2013. The Minister announced this news during a bilateral meeting with His Highness Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Dubai. The plans and strategy the UAE has put in place are remarkable. With over 250 Dutch companies in the country, the Netherlands has a substantial presence representing many different sectors, such as oil and gas, water, logistics, hospitality, architecture, and creative design which can contribute substantially to the UAE to help realize plans for hosting the event.