Wed 08-12-2021 19:39 PM
DUBAI, 8th December, 2021 (WAM) -- H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Finance, today attended the first-ever Global Business Forum (GBF) ASEAN at Expo 2020 Dubai.
GBF ASEAN seeks to enhance economic ties and bilateral trading relations between Dubai and the 10 member states that make up the ASEAN region. Addressing Sheikh Maktoum and other delegates, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, highlighted the significance of the Forum and the platform provided by Expo 2020 Dubai to explore greater trade and investment between the two regions.
"Hosting Expo 2020 Dubai at this critical juncture in the world’s history helps the global economy make a new start and accelerate its recovery and growth. ASEAN countries can play a key part in the world’s economic growth by supporting international trade and building partnerships. The large populations of ASEAN countries provide huge investment opportunities and support the global supply chain. The UAE is looking positively at the ASEAN region, as it holds a solid economic position with a total GDP of US$3 trillion. Both the ASEAN and GCC regions complement each other and play a vital role in the world’s economy," he said.
Also speaking on the first day of the Forum was Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai. She said resilience and the ability to overcome obstacles are critical to the continued growth of GCC and ASEAN countries.
"If the pandemic laid bare the fragility of traditional economic systems, it also underscored the potential of those accelerating their adoption of digitisation, building innovative and agile startups and SME ecosystems and establishing a global reputation as hubs and platforms for long term and sustainable partnerships. The nations of the Gulf and Southeast Asia are introducing several forward-thinking initiatives - we are entrepreneurs and problem-solvers, always seeking new perspectives to spark creativity and innovation. We have demonstrated these qualities since the UAE’s foundation in 1971 and throughout our journey into the 21st century," Al Hashemy said.
In a discussion that followed, Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Teleworking Applications, highlighted Dubai’s strategic location which has enabled it to become a commercial centre and a gateway to other regions. Companies across the world have successfully used the UAE’s location as a springboard to access lucrative new markets.
"If you want to expand your business beyond a specific geography to diversify risks, the best way to enter a region is by creating a hub in the UAE. This gives investors the opportunity to reach a population of over two billion people covering diverse markets including east Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India. What this gives prospective investors is access to a pool of high-quality talent. It also gives them the best time zones to work with both in the east and the west. You are able to start with Asia, then the afternoon with Europe, and in the evening with the US," Al Olama said.
"Also, businesses can expand beyond one country. With a presence in the UAE, countries in the region will be a lot more likely to help businesses expand into their geographies. There are several exemplary models that investors can use to unlock their growth potential in the markets of Asia and beyond. An example of this is the expansion of DP World’s operations beyond the GCC, to Asia, Africa and Latin America," Al Olama added.
He also drew attention to the facilities that Dubai offers businesses operating in the rapidly expanding technology sphere, with Dubai Internet City home to more than 60 percent of artificial intelligence startups in the region and Dubai attracting over 62 percent of all foreign direct investment into the region’s digital economy.
Representing Dubai Chambers, Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chambers, spoke about how Dubai offers a fertile business environment for ASEAN companies. He called for greater cooperation between stakeholders of both regions to maximise their mutual potential.
‘The ASEAN region is a market of strategic importance to Dubai at a time when bilateral relations have expanded in recent years. The number of ASEAN companies registered with Dubai Chamber and operating in Dubai has grown by 35.5 percent since 2018 to reach 3,300 today. Dubai-ASEAN non-oil trade in the last five years reached around US$110 billion (AED404 billion). Yet, there is huge potential to further expand bilateral trade and tap into existing synergies. For this to happen, we must work together to remove trade barriers, facilitate ease of doing business and identify new areas where we can align our ambitions," Al Ghurair said.
Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General, ASEAN Secretariat, said, "The bilateral trade between Dubai and the ASEAN countries in the last two decades was US$37 billion and we believe that the UAE and Dubai, in particular, can open new avenues for strategic partnership between ASEAN and GCC countries. The ASEAN countries have a lot to offer. Investments in the digital economy and e-commerce came at the top of the list as the region has over 660 million people. We are confident that the UAE can help to build strategic partnerships with ASEAN countries in areas such as technological advancements, supply chain and green technology as the UAE is already a pioneer and leader in sustainable finance and green investments."
Organised by Dubai Chamber in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai, GBF ASEAN is hosting a comprehensive programme of keynote addresses, presentations, discussion panels and workshops designed to explore ways of ramping up bilateral trade and advancing the economies of Dubai and the 10 countries of the ASEAN region. Held under the theme The New Frontiers, the conference is the latest addition to Dubai Chamber’s Global Business Forum series, which was launched in 2013 to identify synergies between Dubai and promising markets around the world.