Abu Dhabi: Bilateral trade between Russia and the UAE is expected to go up as ties between the two countries strengthen, according to a trade representative of the Russian Federation in Abu Dhabi.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, visited Russia in April and both countries considered elevating ties to a strategic partnership to further promote bilateral relations.
“For the year 2016, bilateral trade between the two countries reached $1.2 billion, the same level as in 2015 but the figure is expected to up this year as ties between the two countries strengthen and the UAE imports more goods from Russia,” said Ara Melikyan.
The UAE started supplying nuclear fuel to Barakah nuclear plant that will have a direct impact on the trade between the two countries, he said. The UAE is also importing more wheat from Russia when compared to previous years.
For 2016, the value of Russian imports from the UAE amounted to $272.6 million whereas the exports reached $971.6 million. Russia exports previous gems and metals, machinery equipment, ferrous metals to the UAE and it imports ship craft, food stuff, plastics among other things.
On the investment front, Abu Dhabi based Mubadala is investing in different sectors through Russian Direct Investment Fund and from Russian side, the most significant investment are in Sharjah-based Hamriya Steel and Volga Dnepr aircraft facilities, according to Melikyan.
The two countries also signed an agreement this year to construct a light combat aircraft that is expected to be manufactured in the UAE.
The UAE government also awarded Dh2.6 billion military procurement deal for Russia’s Rosoboronexport during International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi in February highlighting strengthening of ties in the defence sector.
In the energy sector, the cooperation between Russia and the UAE is developing with joint investments in upstream operations in oil and gas and others under consideration.
“Cooperation in energy sector is developing either in oil and gas or nuclear. They include production control, joint investments in upstream operations and others under consideration. We also hope for cooperation in solar energy,” Melikyan said.
Russian companies have not invested in the upstream operations of the UAE’s oil and gas sector so far but energy giant Lukoil which is looking to expand its operations in the Middle East is keen to participate in Abu Dhabi offshore concession, which will expire next year, the company’s vice-president in the region Gati Al Jebouri told Gulf News in a recent interview.
“In Abu Dhabi, the current licence extension on the onshore projects shows a clear wish by the authorities to invite a variety of international oil companies and we look forward to being able to participate in offshore license extension that will happen in 2018,” said Al Jebouri.
Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and chief of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) was in Russia this week to discuss among other things ways of developing UAE-Russian cooperation in commercial, economic, investment and energy fields, according to WAM.