Abu Dhabi / WAM
An official delegation from the UAE has successfully participated at the 8th Kazan International Economic Summit between the Russian Federation and member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) from May 19-21, in Kazan, the capital of Russia’s Tatarstan Republic.
The delegation was headed by Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade and Industry, who was accompanied by Dr Adeeb Al Afifi, Acting Director for International Business Administration at the Department of Economic Development – Abu Dhabi; Mohamed Juma Musharrekh, Deputy Director for Investment Promotion at the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); and Sheikha Khalifa Al Shamsi, Economic Coordinator at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Other representatives from the UAE Embassy in Moscow and federal and local authorities were present as well.
Al Saleh delivered a speech during his participation in a plenary session entitled ‘New Global Economic Architecture: Prospects for the OIC Financial Industry in the Russian Federation’ which was opened by Rustam Minnikhanov, President of the Republic of Tatarstan. Other key speakers for the session were Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, Chief Adviser to the Secretary General of the OIC, and Eugene Bushmin, Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Russian Federal Assembly Federation. Also present were a number of finance and banking experts.
In his speech, Al Saleh highlighted the importance of the economic ties between the UAE and Russia, noting that the two countries have signed a number of agreements to protect and encourage mutual investment, avoid double taxation, promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and foster close cooperation in industry, agriculture, tourism, transport, technology, and space.
He pointed out that their bilateral trade volume for 2015 exceeded US$ 2.5 billion, with the balance of UAE investments in the Russian Federation at US$ 18 billion and Russia’s investments in the UAE until the end of 2014 reaching around US$ 755 million. He added that the number of direct flights between the two countries total 90 weekly flights from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah covering 15 destinations in Russia.
The Undersecretary shared the Ministry of Economy’s efforts to further strengthen the foundations of the UAE’s economic diversification and openness. He said that the Ministry supports the provision of an attractive investment environment free of taxes through the development of supportive legislation and the facilitation of business in terms of easing procedures, enhancing transparency, and encouraging innovation – all of which fall in line with UAE Vision 2021.
He added that the summit provided an opportunity to focus more on further strengthening cooperation with participating states, encouraging more partnerships with small and medium-sized enterprises as well as the food security, agriculture, and ‘Halal’ food sectors, and exchanging experiences in the fields of technology, industry, renewable energy, water, environment, and transport.
The head of the UAE delegation emphasised the need to encourage more cooperation and investment in the field of Islamic economy which has received global investments worth around USD 8 trillion. He also invited participants to take advantage of the Islamic banking system, particularly after its success in addressing the effects of the global financial crisis of 2008. He commended the UAE’s leading experiences in this area, pointing out that the UAE ranked first among Arab countries and second globally in the Global Islamic Economy Indicator falling under the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report which covers 73 states.
He further mentioned that the ‘Dubai, The Capital of Islamic Economy’ initiative, the establishment of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, and plans to establish the first Sharia-compliant Export and Import bank in Dubai, are all important steps for enhancing the UAE’s leadership in this area. Al Saleh also commended the special attention shown by Russia in Islamic finance and banking as an opportunity for moving forward and further enriching this promising sector with innovative products and solutions.
During the summit, the UAE delegation participated in a panel discussion titled ‘Exports – New Markets’ where they presented the important role played by the UAE in the facilitation of international trade through its strategic geographic location, sophisticated infrastructure, and ongoing preparations for hosting Expo 2020 in Dubai which is further enhancing the country’s investment appeal. The group also noted that the UAE ranked 17th globally in the Global Competitiveness Index under the 2015-2016 Davos Forum Report.