French Transports Minister Elisabeth Borne arrives at the Matignon hotel in Paris to take part in a government seminar following the "Great National Debate", on April 29, 2019. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: French Minister of Transport Elisabeth Borne arrives in the UAE on Thursday to lay the foundation stone for the French Pavilion at Expo 2020.

During her stay she will also meet with Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group, to discuss aviation partnerships, and Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director-General of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), to discuss shared visions of the future of urban mobility.

Borne will also visit French companies in the UAE and attend a gala dinner with Omar Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence to reward the best French innovation start-ups in the UAE.

This follows French Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire’s visit to the UAE in February, and the meeting of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces with French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris last November.

“As you know, the France–UAE relationship is outstanding in all fields and we are working at all levels to enhance our economic cooperation, which includes a focus on the modernisation and sustainability of our cities and ways of circulation,” Borne told Gulf News.

“Economic cooperation is a key pillar of the strategic partnership between our two countries,” she added. “With a bilateral trade of €4.44 billion (Dh18.31 billion) in 2018, the UAE is the second biggest trade partner of France in the Gulf.

“The UAE is home to more than 600 subsidiaries of French companies, and more than three quarters of the CAC 40’s (French stock market index) firms are located in the Federation.”

Addressing means of further cooperation in the transport and aviation sectors, Borne said: “The extension of Dubai’s public transport network offers amazing opportunities of cooperation for French companies, such as Thales or Alstom, who are currently working on the extension of the Dubai Metro to reach the site of Expo Dubai 2020.

“As for the aviation sector … in becoming a global hub, the UAE needs solid and reliable partners. This is exactly the kind of partnership that Airbus has developed with the UAE’s main airlines. We can be proud of what has been achieved and look very positively towards the future.”

On the French Pavilion at Dubai Expo, Borne explained: “In line with France’s ecological ambition … this pavilion will be the most sustainable ever built because it can be dismantled and reused.

“It will be deployed according to the three pillars of bioclimatism: renewable, clean and controlled energy, sustainable materials and a circular economy at work.

“The pavilion is a tool for the promotion, development and attractiveness of France: it is an incomparable showcase for the know-how and innovations of French companies as well as a platform to accelerate the international development of the French offer.”