Sharjah: The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), has received a Spanish delegation with the aim of encouraging Spanish investment in the Emirate.

The meeting, which took place at Shurooq’s head office in Sharjah, aimed to introduce the Spanish representatives to Shurooq and the services offered by the Authority as well as to familiarise them with the numerous investment opportunities available in the four key investment sectors that have been identified in Sharjah, namely healthcare, travel and leisure, logistics and transportation, and the environment.

The delegation, which included Jaime Montalvo, economic and commercial counsellor in UAE, Qatar, Pakistan and Afghanistan at the Embassy of Spain; Manuela Garcia Pascual, commercial attache at the Embassy of Spain; Maria Rodriguez, consultant for the Middle East Countries at the Spanish Tourism Office (TURESPANA); and Rosario Millan, director at the Office of Andalusia (Spain), was met by Shurooq CEO, Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Shurooq COO Ahmad Obaid Al Qaseer, Director of Business Development at Shurooq, Elie Armaly, and Head of Investment Promotion at Shurooq, Mohammad Juma Al Musharrkh.

During the meeting, Al Sarkal emphasised the distinguished relationship between the UAE and Spain. The UAE is among Spain’s major trading partners in the Gulf region, with their trade exchange growing 0.9 per cent from $1,119.3 million in 2009 to $1,129.1 in 2011 and briefed the Spanish delegation on Shurooq’s mission, vision and strategic goals. He also highlighted the various investment opportunities in Sharjah, with the focus on four key sectors – travel and tourism, transport and logistics, healthcare, and the environment.

In a bid to encourage more Spanish companies to invest in Sharjah, the Shurooq CEO took the opportunity to stress Sharjah’s dynamic business environment, stressing that the emirate’s market-oriented economy in combination with the many government incentives to industrial and business activities which makes Sharjah an ideal destination for Spanish investors. He also highlighted the ultra-modern infrastructure and transport network, tax policies, skilled workforce, and political stability of the Emirate.

Al Sarkal further underlined Sharjah’s interest in strengthening avenues of economic cooperation with Spain and expressed the hope that the visit would yield positive outcomes.

“Maintaining and expanding trade relations has always been one of our key priorities, and we were very pleased to receive our Spanish friends to discuss and explore means of cooperation,” he said. “Non-oil trade between the UAE and Spain grew 21 per cent to more than $1.4 billion (Dh5.14 billion) in 2011, and we believe that despite the current economic turmoil in Europe there is great potential for further strengthening our relationship.”