UAE Minister of Economy Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri
“Strengthening the UAE's consumer protection system and drafting relevant policies are national priorities…” says the UAE Minister of Economy - Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri

Dubai: The trade and economic agreement with India, Israel and Indonesia will aid UAE exports to these countries exceed $10 billion in the next 10 years. And line up a $16 billion boost for the UAE GDP during this period.

And create ‘about 190,000 job opportunities, including highly qualified, talented and skilled people’, according to Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy, in an interview to WAM. “The three CEPA agreements open up markets for more than 1.6 billion consumers around the world,’ he added.

The UAE has “made significant progress in creating a supportive environment that will benefit from opportunities provided by new economic sectors,” the Minister added. Here are excerpts from the interview:

What are the Ministry's plans to translate His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed's speech in a way that enhances the UAE's global stature?

The Ministry of Economy, in cooperation with all partners, in accordance with the vision of the UAE President, continues its efforts to develop the best system of legislation that keeps pace with the future and works to stimulate new business models related to the sectors of the ‘new economy’.

What is the expected economic return from CEPA agreements?

Foreign trade is a major tributary to the national economy and one of the pillars of its strength and competitiveness, as the UAE has vast maritime, air and land networks linking it with more than 400 major cities. This makes it a major commercial hub and regional logistics centre.

This position is translated by the foreign trade figures, which witnessed a growth of up to 27 per cent during 2021 compared to 2020 and about 11 per cent compared to the pre-pandemic levels of 2019 with a value of nearly Dh1.9 trillion.

The non-oil exports also recorded a growth of 47.3 per cent over the pre-pandemic average, of up to Dh354 billion in 2021, and growth of up to 17% during Q1-022. The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPA) programme is an important pillar of the UAE's endeavours to stimulate sustainable economic growth. Three agreements were concluded with India, Israel and Indonesia and progress made in negotiations to sign more with other countries.

The world is facing the global challenges of price rises. What are your plans to address these challenges?

The Ministry of Economy is handling this issue by trying to achieve a balance between the consumer's interest in obtaining goods at reasonable prices and ensuring the sustainability of supplies and the availability of goods. Maintaining supplies is a national priority that serves the country's food security policies.

The Ministry cooperates with local economic departments, as well as relevant partners from the private sector who supply various commodities and basic consumer products in order to study the global price rises of these materials and work together to limit the impact of any global price increases.

Strengthening the UAE's consumer protection system and drafting relevant policies are national priorities. We are working through the ministry and the Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection to implement them. To ensure sound commercial practices in local markets, maintain the availability and diversity of basic commodities in quantities that meet the needs of citizens and residents, and increase strategic stocks.

What are the policies being drafted by the ministry to attract local and foreign investments?

The Ministry of Economy oversees over 20 laws related to the economy and business environment, including laws covering commercial agencies, strategic inventories, competition, anti-dumping, e-commerce, consumer protection and countering money laundering crimes, as well as related intellectual property laws.

The ministry is also currently finalising a new law on family businesses. The UAE is a leading destination for family businesses in the region, as it has the best and most competitive business environment in light of the signing of economic and trade partnership agreements that enable it to access various global markets.

New companies in the country's market recorded a growth of up to 126 per cent in 2021 compared to before the pandemic, as well as an 18 per cent growth in the first quarter of 2022.

The recent amendments related to the protection of intellectual property rights, copyrights, industrial property rights and trademarks have contributed to the growth of creative industries, created opportunities for the creative economy, and attracted new investments in this vital field.