Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Chinba reception 20190722
File photo: Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, attends a reception hosted by Xi Jinping, President of China (L), at the Great Hall of the People. Image Credit: WAM

The UAE is pushing ahead with its efforts to develop economic relations with others, notably those countries that are economic heavyweights and whose markets offer promising opportunities. The move is part of the UAE’s efforts to boost exports and support its economic diversification, as well as to import the best technologies and products at competitive prices and then re-export them.

This would contribute to strengthening its position as a global trading and financial hub. The forward-looking policy is clearly manifested in the intensified visits carried out by top officials to many countries. These have been characterised by their impetus on setting economic agendas, signalling the official interest in rapid developments taking place all over, especially in the digital economy, telecoms and artificial intelligence.

This is evident from the nature of agreements and memoranda of understanding signed, especially the recent ones made during the visit of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, to China and Indonesia. More than 30 agreements were signed with China alone, covering various aspects of cooperation with the world’s second-largest economy.

New deals will rub off on local economy

This ambitious approach will have its reflection on the country’s economic capacity. It will help increase its economic capabilities and open more areas of cooperation with others, even where many areas of cooperation exist, but need additional support.

For instance, the UAE’s trade with Indonesia does not exceed $3.7 billion (Dh13.58 billion) a year; however, there is potential to even double it in the coming period. The countries recently signed a memorandum of understanding to boost the halal products industry, with an aim to increasing bilateral trade to $5.5 billion.

The latest agreements will help surpass the previous targets and take UAE-Indonesia relations to wider horizons, representing a unique leap that reflects the business potential and opportunities available in the two countries. For example, Indonesia is one of the world’s 20 largest economies and has a population of 270 million, with a GDP exceeding $1 trillion.

The UAE, one of the fastest growing emerging countries, has positioned itself as a global trading and financial centre, thanks to its strategic location. An oil producing country with diverse petrochemical commodities, it also makes aluminium products and aircraft components that most markets need.


A new awareness on future growth

This demonstrates how important the UAE-Indonesian approaches are, simply because they would contribute effectively to making important changes in economic and trade cooperation between the world’s biggest economies, which have demands that the UAE can provide. There is also potential for cooperation in oil and gas production as well as logistics, in addition to benefits for the industrial, agricultural and tourism sectors.

The awareness which the UAE leadership has shown in strengthening economic ties with these countries is a guarantee of the success of this approach. It is more likely that UAE’s relations with China and Indonesia will witness a qualitative jump and with positive consequences on all three economies.

The strategy would contribute to opening a huge market for Emirati exports and the setting up of joint ventures, which will eventually support economic diversification and boost sustainability, increase growth rate, and reinforce cooperation in the political, strategic and security areas.

Such an approach is extremely important in view of the turbulent situation resulting from external threats and terrorist operations supported by regional parties. This situation calls for a need to intensify efforts to safeguard achievements, a move that is in line with Shaikh Mohammad’s visit to enhance avenues of cooperation with stable and peace-loving nations.

— Dr. Mohammad Al Asoomi is a UAE economic expert