The second meeting of the Spain-UAE Mixed Economic Commission has concluded with an agreement by both parties to adopt all possible measures to further strengthen bilateral trade and expand cooperation in strategic areas of economic activity for mutual benefit.

In a joint statement, the Spanish Minister of Economy and Competitiveness, Luis de Guindos, and his counterpart from the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Saeed Al Mansoori, (in the photo during the signing of the agreement) express their satisfaction with the result of the meeting , which both have described as positive, and underline the need to consolidate efforts, both bilaterally and through the platforms of the European Union (EU) to facilitate access to key markets.

Economic relations between the two countries have been fostered in recent years with an increasing number of trade missions and high-level official visits. As a consequence, more Spanish companies have established a presence in the UAE and this country's investments in Spain have grown steadily.

"The Spain-UAE joint commission has become a major driver of efforts to promote trade between the two countries," said Minister Al Mansoori. Trade between the two countries "has registered a growth of 75% in the last three years, going from 1,000 million euros in 2009 to 1,750 million in 2012" he added. In addition, the bilateral flow of tourists reached 70,000 people in 2012, driven by the increase in air connections between the two countries.

The Guindos minister expressed his satisfaction with "the increase in bilateral trade flows," but added that "there is room for improvement in terms of investment opportunities." "Many Spanish companies are world leaders in their respective sectors: transport infrastructure, civil engineering, financial services, information and communication technologies, among others," said the minister. As examples of the competitiveness of Spanish companies, he mentioned the high-speed train linking Mecca and Medina or the expansion of the Panama Canal.

The UAE welcomes the establishment in 2011 of the Joint Business Council between the Spanish Confederation of Entrepreneurs and the Federation of Emirates Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The Emirati minister expressed optimism regarding the active role of that Council in promoting trade and economic relations between the two countries.

"The Emirates are committed to strengthening the Council's participation in promoting trade, investment, activities in the service and industrial sectors as a way to achieve public-private partnerships," said Al Manssori.

As for the Spanish Government, the Minister of Guindos stressed that "he appreciates the significant increase in the long-term investments of the Emirates in Spain". "Spain," he explained, "can offer UAE investors excellent opportunities in multiple sectors and can serve as a natural access route to European and Latin American markets."

Al Mansoori noted the contribution that a healthy small and medium-sized business sector can make to capital accumulation, employment opportunities and regional development. The UAE and Spain can create opportunities for cooperation in the development of that vital sector by exchanging information and sharing "best practices" in promotion and innovation within that sector.

“Let us make the SME sector a crucial vehicle in improving the competitiveness of our economies and in the process of generating investments. The UAE will cooperate with Spain on a regular basis in initiatives such as business forums and events to promote contacts for innovative companies in both countries, "said the Emirati Minister.

The Emirates also expressed interest in increasing cooperation with Spain in key areas such as innovation, renewable energy, petrochemicals, construction, education, health, transportation and tourism.

Source of the new