The Covid-19 pandemic has created new trade opportunities that UAE and Latin American companies can benefit from Image Credit: Supplied

Latin American and Caribbean economies will play a pivotal role in boosting Dubai’s global trade target to Dh2 trillion over the next five years, with platforms such as Dubai Chambers connecting the abundant commercial opportunities between the two geographies through public-private partnerships.

That was the key message from the second day of the Global Business Forum Latin America (GBF LATAM 2022), that concluded in Dubai on Thursday.

The two-day high-level forum, being held at the Dubai Exhibition Centre at Expo 2020 Dubai, ended on a high note as it attracted a total of 2,000 participants from 95 countries who attended in person and virtually. It was organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai.

“Today, we are reaping the fruits of the strong relationship that we succeeded in establishing with the Latin American markets through our previous edition of GBF LATAM,” Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, said on Thursday.

“The forum provided an opportunity to establish new business partnerships and support our efforts to expand the operations of companies in Dubai, as well as attract LATAM investments to the emirate. GBF LATAM is the perfect platform for building bridges of cooperation and cross-border partnerships between Dubai and Latin American and Caribbean countries,” he added.

Three heads of state, 13 ministers, government officials, business leaders and hundreds of industry experts from Latin America, the Caribbean and the UAE, came together during the two days to explore trade and investment prospects and pursue new avenues of economic cooperation. Around 300 bilateral business meetings were also held during the two-day forum.

Dubai Chambers in bridging LATAM gap

According to participants at the forum, public-private partnerships (PPPs) increasingly hold the key in the post-Covid era for diversifying growth opportunities for economic recovery. Dubai-based investors can be instrumental in helping both the economies meet their ambitious targets. With three international offices in Panama, Brazil and Argentina, Dubai Chamber of Commerce is playing a critical role to promote commercial opportunities between Latin American and Caribbean countries and Dubai and the UAE.

"In the fourth edition of the forum, we were able to build many new ties that will shape the future of strategic relations between Dubai, the wider GCC and the 27 countries that make up Latin America and the Caribbean,” Buamim said.

“We presented an integrated picture of the business environment, highlighted joint investment opportunities, brought investors together, and drew attention to the pivotal role of Dubai as a gateway for companies wishing to launch their operations and expand into the region's promising markets. We look forward to seeing these interactions translating into new economic partnerships,” he added.

DP World as an enabler of LATAM logistics

According to Sultan Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, Latin America was an extremely critical market for the company and DP World was committed to removing all logistics inefficiencies from the bilateral supply chain.

"We are a customer-oriented company so will invest where the customer needs our service. At present we are in Caucedo in the Dominican Republic, with both industrial park logistics and port operations. We are also in Santos in Brazil. We are in Argentina, in Peru, in Ecuador, in Surinam and other locations. And of course, we are also in Chile with two ports and a logistics operation," he said during a session at GBF LATAM on Thursday.

According to Bin Sulayem, DP World was bullish about investment in Latin America because it was confident of removing many of the obstacles and inefficiencies through its deep expertise in the ports and logistics business.

"Today, the customer needs so many services. From 2010 to 2016, we only provided one service and that was basically handling the cargo from the ship to the port. In the last six years, we have changed to a deeper involvement with customers. We want to be in charge of the cargo, not just from the gate, but until the customer receives it… Our target is that the cargo will move from the manufacturer to the consumer with the least difficulties and in the most efficient way, and we will continue to do that,” he said.

Dubai as global LATAM hub

Top officials at the forum noted that the high-calibre of participation at GBF LATAM 2022 reflects the growing confidence in Dubai as a global hub for companies from Latin America and the Caribbean, adding that Expo 2020 Dubai provided an ideal platform for UAE and LATAM countries to network, collaborate and take their trade relations to the next level.

Held under the theme ‘Towards a Resilient Future’, GBF LATAM 2022 was held under the patronage His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

GBF LATAM 2022 forms part of Dubai Chamber of Commerce’s flagship Global Business Forum series which was launched in 2013 and also showcases investment opportunities in promising markets across Africa and the ASEAN region.

Dubai Chamber of Commerce is the Official Business Integration Partner for Expo 2020 Dubai.