Y.B. Dato Mustapa Mohammad, Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry, opened the fourth edition of the Malaysia Services Exhibition in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The contribution of the non-oil sector to the UAE's gross domestic product has increased to 71 per cent thanks to the country's economic diversification strategy, a top official said yesterday.

"Our foreign trade sector in particular is playing an important role in this regard with a 15 per cent contribution alone to GDP," Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, said while inaugurating the fourth edition of the Malaysia Services Exhibition (MSE 2011) in Abu Dhabi.

She said the UAE's economic diversification strategy has greatly contributed towards economic development, strengthening of existing sectors, and to the rise of new industries such as renewable energy, nuclear power, advanced technologies, and logistical services.

"Moreover, our non-oil foreign trade grew by 14 per cent in 2010 to $205 billion (Dh752 billion)," the minister said.

Economic stability is also a key factor in attracting foreign investments and partnerships, she said. "In this regard, I am pleased to say that the UAE has been one of the region's most econ-omically resilient countries in recent years. We have become home to 25 per cent of the world's top 500 companies and one of the world's top 30 trading nations. We are in fact the leading foreign direct investment destination in the Middle East and 14th in the world," the minister said.


She invited those interested in doing business with the UAE to take advantage of numerous commercial and investment incentives, such as a strategic location which places it a few hours away from the top European and Asian markets, world-class free zones, 100 per cent repatriation of capital and profits, easily accessible raw materials, cheap energy sources, and zero corporate profit taxes and personal income taxes.

Shaikha Lubna pointed out the abolition of the minimum capital requirement to establish a limited liability company.