Abu Dhabi: Juma Al Kait, the Undersecretary for Foreign Trade Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Trade, has said that the UAE economy is well positioned to become a strategic economic partner for many countries due to its competitiveness in many fields, including its logistics services, advanced technologies, developed infrastructure, investment facilitation, economic diversification, effective government spending and the hosting of many international specialised fairs and conferences.
His remarks came during a panel discussion at the Arab Turkish Economic Forum held in Istanbul this weekend on the current state of Arab economies in light of the ongoing changes witnessed in the region.
Commenting on UAE-Turkish economic ties, Al Kait said that bilateral trade between the two countries has registered considerable growth during the past 10 years, going up by 572 per cent to reach $3.6 billion (Dh13.2 billion) in 2011.
He added that Turkey is one of the world’s top modern industrial countries, with strong production capabilities in various sectors such as home appliances, agricultural products, electronics, textiles, transport vehicles, machinery, construction material, etc. He added that “with such a strengthening economy that has seen exports rise to $135 billion last year — a considerable increase from 2002 when they were a more modest $36 billion — Turkey is well positioned to become one of the world’s fastest growing economies over the coming few years” with a forecasted annual growth of 6.7 per cent, which further encourages the setting up more Turkish-UAE commercial and economic partnerships.
Al Kait highlighted some of the strengths of the UAE economy and existing UAE-Turkish economic partnerships.
Tackling global financial crisis
He said that the UAE was one of the first countries in the world to succeed in confronting the ramifications of the global financial crisis and its effects on the economy through employing a series of measures that included increasing public spending on infrastructure, developing the private sector, and supporting investments (local and foreign).
He further said that although the UAE, a major oil producer, has benefited from the global increase in oil prices over the past few years, the country’s non-oil sectors have also witnessed a noticeable improvement and played an integral part in boosting the country’s GDP. This was primarily brought about, he added, through the adoption of successful economic diversification policies and through boosting the productivity of the country’s non-oil sectors such as manufacturing, transport, tourism, clean technology, renewable energy sectors among others.
He added that trade between the Arab world and Turkey had reached $34.7 billion in 2011, 15.5 per cent or around $5.4 billion of which was conducted solely with the UAE, pointing out that there are currently over 850 Turkish companies and trademarks operating in the UAE economy.
Al Kait underlined the importance of exerting more efforts towards further strengthening Arab-Turkish economic cooperation in order to better confront current global economic challenges, achieve better growth in bilateral trade and attract more FDIs that would achieve more economic and political stability.
The event was attended by over 600 delegates from Turkey and the Arab world.
UAE-Turkish commercial exchange reached $3.6 billion in 2011, achieving a year-on-year growth of 30.3 per cent. This amount can be broken down to $2.439 billion in imports, $882.4 million in exports, and $303 million in re-exports, with the latter two achieving growth rates of 453 per cent and 112 per cent respectively.