Abu Dhabi Japan Economic Council hold its 2nd meeting in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi: Nasser Ahmed Al Sowaidi, the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, presided over the second meeting of Abu Dhabi Japan Economic Council (AJEC) held today in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of Hiranao Honda, Parliamentary Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, and Tadatsuna Koda, the President of Japan Cooperation Centre for the Middle East (JCCME) and Chairperson of the Japanese side of ( ADJEC), Yoshihiko Camo, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to UAE, and a number of major Japanese companies, businessmen and investors from both sides.

Al Sowaidi in his opening remarks at the second meeting of Abu Dhabi Japan Economic Council (AJEC), said that ADJEC’s first meeting which was held under the great keenness of the Governments of Abu Dhabi and Japan to further economic ties and cooperation, was crowned by the establishment of Abu Dhabi Japan Economic Council (ADJEC). Al Sowaidi noted that the first meeting of the Council in Tokyo last February was very successful, as it clearly reflected the dedication of the two sides to promote mutual cooperation in all areas, notably the tourism sector, academic research and strengthening partnership between the private sectors on both sides.

The “ADJEC second meeting today in Abu Dhabi is honoured by the presence of an elite of high-level officials from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Japan, which certainly indicates the desire of both sides to develop areas of cooperation and common interests and turn them into actions, to achieve common goals.” Al Sowaidi said.

Al Sowaidi emphasized the Council’s keenness and the aspirations of the two governments, to render all assistance to investors in both countries to boost investments and tap available investment opportunities.

He explained that these efforts and the desire of the two governments materialized, despite the global uncertainty and reluctance which still linger after more than four years since the beginning of the global financial crisis, marred by the significant downside risks to the main parts of the global economy, which critically affected the decisions of investors.

The Chairman of the Department of Economic Development noted that the political and economic stability, which characterizes UAE, stands as an important factor in the changes witnessed by the investment map of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), in addition to the promising future and potential growth of a number of non-oil sectors, which increase focusing on UAE as an attractive investment hub.

Al Sowaidi said that the FDI 2012 report issued by the Financial Times Group, confirmed that the UAE had attracted the largest number of investment projects in the Middle East and Africa in 2011, while most active FDI companies based their activities in UAE. He added that the World Investment Report 2012 issued (UNCTAD), stated that FDI inflows into UAE witnessed 40 % increase despite the apparent decrease in most Arab countries due to political unrest and the global recession, making the State the third-largest destination for (FDI) inflows to West Asia, where FDI inflows to UAE reached $7.679 billion U.S. dollars in 2011.

Al Sowaidi mentioned that the World Investment Report 2012 also commended the role of the long term economic diversification plans in the region, in creating additional investment opportunities, and making the region more attractive for foreign investments. He expressed his belief it is now more favourable to capitalize on the spectrum of emerging investments in all fields in UAE in general, and in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in particular.

Al Sowaidi said that despite the very difficult year, marked the by slowdown in global economy growth, coupled with the great East Japan earthquake, and the political developments in the MENA region, Japan successfully managed to boost bilateral trade with UAE which maintained growth during 2011, by 37.5%, rising from $ 36.6 billion in 2010 to mark $50.38 billion in 2011, making the UAE occupy the ninth place among the most important ten trading partners with Japan in 2011; while non-oil trade between Abu Dhabi and Japan grew by 6.4% last year, to reach $ 2.693 billion compared to $ 2.531 billion dollars in 2010.

According to Al Sowaidi , the latest figures revealed that bilateral trade between Japan and the UAE seems to be very promising this year, with total trade during the period (January-August) 2012 rising by 8.6% to mark $ 35.472 billion compared to $32.648 billion during the same period in 2011,; and he explained that the significant increase in trade volume during the period (January-August) of the current year was mainly attributed to the influx in Japanese exports to UAE by 35.7% compared to a contraction rate of 6.3% during the same period in 2011, reaffirming UAE’s position as a leading export destination market for Japanese products in the MENA region in general and the Gulf Region in particular.

Al Suwaidi said that Abu Dhabi last year conceived full economic recovery, where it achieved real growth rate of 6.8%, compared to 3% in 2010; after a sharp drop of 4.9% in 2009. At the same time, Al Sowaidi indicated that non-oil GDP in Abu Dhabi managed to maintain its upward drift, recording a growth of 4.1% in real terms in last year, compared to 3.9% in 2010, which clearly confirms the balanced approach towards economic diversification in the Emirate.

Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, the Director General of Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, briefed the Japanese side of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, with the aim of highlighting the strategy of Abu Dhabi Government during the next phase for targeting non-oil sectors to be the engine of the national economy. This was meant to coordinate the visions and goals of Japanese investments in the emirate in relation to the targeted sectors, notably infrastructure and technology, trade and industry, transport, health and education, among others.

Dr. Saif al-Nasseri, the Acting Director of Business Support at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), gave a presentation on the latest oil and gas projects in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. He presented plans for expansion of the production capacity of crude oil and plans to increase the production capacity of the gas, especially acid gas and refining capacity expansion plans.

A presentation given by Khaled Salmeen Al Kuwari, Executive Vice President of Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD), Abu Dhabi Ports Company, stressed the keenness of (KIZAD) to attract big global and local industries and help international and local companies alike to access regional and international markets, and benefit from the low-cost operating environment, sophisticated services and facilities in the industrial zone is.

Masdar Company also highlighted its role and projects, shedding light on investments, energy and carbon management; including Masdar City , which emerges as the global hub for renewable energy and clean technologies and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MI) and its academic educational programs, which exemplify the government support of the surge towards alternative energy . Strata Company, an affiliate of “Mubadala”” offered a presentation which focused on the achievements in airframe assemblies, and structural components industry after signing partnership agreements with a number of leading aircraft manufacturers around the world to develop programs for manufacturing of airframe components in a new factory in Al Ain city.

The meeting, reviewed a number of topics on its agenda, notably the results and recommendations of the first meeting of the Council which was held in the Japanese capital Tokyo, last February; in addition to strengthening cooperation between the two countries in tourism, research and studies and boosting means of boosting partnerships between private sectors in both countries.

It is worth mentioning that the meeting held by the two sides for coordination last September, focused on strengthening cooperation between the two sides in the fields of oil and gas, petrochemical, water, electricity, renewable energy, transportation, airports, semiconductor, infrastructure, sanitation and waste treatment, industry, agriculture and the financial sector. The meeting also discussed a number of proposals aimed at activating the role of the Council, through the formation of supporting committees for energy, finance, small and medium-sized enterprises, business incubators, health and education, among others.

On the sidelines of a meeting of the Council, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed by Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and Japan Cooperation Centre for the Middle East, with purpose to maintain, further and strengthen communication between Abu Dhabi and Japan; facilitate mutually beneficial trade and investments between Abu Dhabi and Japan; and continue to work closely together to achieve “Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030”.

This agreement crowned the efforts started earlier, when a memorandum of understanding was signed by the Department of Economic Development and the Japan Cooperation Centre for the Middle East which led to the establishing of “Abu Dhabi and Japan Economic Council” in January of 2011 in order to strengthen trade and economic ties and between the two countries, create investment opportunities and further development in various sectors.

According to the Memorandum of Cooperation, the Department of Economic Development and Japan Cooperation Centre for the Middle East, agreed to activate the joint work between the competent entities in both countries to exchange updated information on business and investment opportunities; provide information requested by companies considering doing business and/or investment; organize seminars/forums to promote business opportunities and provide any assistance to enhance the mutual business relationship.

The memorandum of Cooperation stipulated the importance of activating communication with partners and stakeholders, through coordination with relevant governmental institutions and major corporations; facilitating business matching to find potential partners; assisting and coordinating meetings with possible investors to link stakeholders ‘&’ partnering companies and providing assistance and advice for possible partnerships and business deals.

The two parties agreed to exchange relevant information and data on matters of common interest and collaborate in the collection, analysis and dissemination of such information and data, subject to such confidentiality arrangements, as may be necessary or applicable under any document and information disclosure policies of the Parties, for safeguarding the confidential nature of certain information or data.

The parties agreed to consult with each other on issues of common interest, in their endeavour l to strengthen cooperation in all areas and exchange information and relevant data on matters of common interest and cooperate in the collection, analysis and dissemination of such information.

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