gn focus germany report
Oliver Oehms, CEO of German Emirati Joint Council for Industry and Commerce (AHK). Image Credit: Supplied

How would you describe Germany’s relationship with the UAE in the context of industry and commerce, and what are the key sectors of mutual interest for UAE and Germany?

The bilateral economic relations are nothing but excellent. Germany has been the UAE’s strongest European trade partner for many years, with a broad portfolio of German products being sought after in the GCC, using the UAE as a hub. But trade statistics do only mirror an incomplete picture. It does not for instance reflect on the large and growing number of German service providers that have been venturing into the UAE and beyond for many years. The recent Covid crisis has been another push for especially small and medium-sized German entrepreneurs towards the UAE. Hence, the strongest growth segment for sure is in value-added and industry-driven services.

How has the UAE leadership’s support for cultivating ties helped German industry in the country developing the last five decade?

Looking at the bilateral business relations, there always has been fantastic support by the UAE leadership. It started with the establishment of a Delegation of German Industry & Commerce back in 1999, which then culminated in the foundation of the first bilateral Chamber of Commerce in the region back in 2009. Now, AHK enjoys not only the strong endorsement support of our Emirati Board members and ‘ordinary’ members, but also of our patron, H.E. Ahmed Al-Sayegh. As a truly bilateral organisation we feel being an accepted and integral part of the UAE’s economic ecosystem. The UAE is our home, while we are rooted in Germany.

How would you describe German cooperation with the UAE during the pandemic and how has that helped UAE and Germany to continue to grow and achieve success?

Without any doubt, the excellent management of the Covid pandemic has been supporting the influx of German entrepreneurs into the UAE. While most other countries of the region have been closed for many months, the UAE established itself as a pro-business destination. International trade shows and events, even beyond Expo 2020, helped business people from all over the world to gather in the UAE. We as AHK have been benefiting from this bold positioning. We always felt grateful and blessed living in the UAE during these unprecedented times.

Germany was one of the most visited pavilions of the recently concluded Expo 2020. What was the role of AHK?

As the official partner of the federal German pavilion and of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Haus we have been deeply involved in all business-related activities of the respective pavilions. This primarily required our attention and concentration on the numerous business delegations coming to the UAE. After all, some thirty delegations have been taken care of by our team. Next to the obligatory visit of Expo 2020 we tried to take as many delegates as possible to other emirates, enabling them to experience the ‘complete’ range of this culturally and economically diverse country — from Ras Al Khaimah to Abu Dhabi.

What are the major AHK events planned in 2022? Can individuals apply for membership?

Reacting to the dynamic bilateral business relations we do not yet have a fully defined events calendar for this year. For sure, one highlight in Q2 will be our long-awaited annual visit of the AHK Board of Directors to Berlin, after a break of two years. With a new German Government being in place the timing is perfect for engaging with the new faces in various ministries and the German Parliament, the ‘Bundestag’ on the spot. There are some topics that our Board aims at addressing, for the benefit of the membership at large. AHK is mainly an organisation of and for corporate members, but we do also accept individual membership applications. Whoever wants to contribute to this network to become even stronger is welcome!