• Commitment to intensify relations at the fourth session of the Joint Economic Committee held in Dubai.
  • The two countries sign one declaration to involve public and private agents in joint ventures and investments.

Dubai. Spain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have pledged to intensify economic, trade and investment relations. This was agreed by the Spanish Minister of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, Luis de Guindos, and his colleague from the UAE, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, at the fourth session of the Joint Economic Committee held today in Dubai. The Joint Declaration signed by the two countries reflects the commitment to continue exploring new opportunities and to involve public and private agents in the creation of joint ventures (joint venture) and in joint investment projects.

Minister Almansoori highlighted the growing impact of R & D & I on the Emirates' economy and on the international companies that operate in the country. He highlighted cooperation with Spain in sectors identified in the aforementioned Strategy, among which he pointed out renewable energies, health, education, technology, transport, aerospace engineering and water. The Spanish minister supported increasing the commitment of Spanish public and private agents to work in these areas.

Minister Guindos congratulated his counterpart for the work to launch the National Center for Innovation and offered technological cooperation and development support in sectors in which Spain enjoys international recognition.

Luis de Guindos, who was accompanied by the Secretary of State for Commerce, Marisa Poncela, asked his Emirati counterpart for collaboration so that Spanish meat products can be exported with the halal certificate issued in Spain.

Both parties also discussed the possibility of reactivating the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council, which, despite the difficulties it faces, would substantially boost bilateral relations.

The two countries agreed on the importance of reaching a bilateral investment agreement and for this they called for a next meeting in the first quarter of 2018 if by then Spain obtained the relevant authorization from the European Commission. With this, they trust that direct investment will increase in both directions and appeal to the private sector to play an active role investing in priority sectors such as innovation, R&D, manufacturing, health, education and transport.

In addition, they highlighted the importance of SMEs in their economies and committed to working together and exchanging information and sharing best practices in the area of ​​SME promotion and innovation.

The two delegations were summoned for the next Joint Committee, to be held in Spain in 2019.

Bilateral trade has experienced a substantial increase in the last decade. Total flows totaled 973 million euros in 2007, a figure that in 2016 rose to 2,079 million euros. In 2016, Spain exported goods to the UAE for 1,746 million euros and imported goods for 334 million. The trade balance was favorable to Spain at 1,412 million euros. Emirates is the second largest market for Spanish companies in the region.

In 2017 the growth trend continues: until last August, Spain exported 1,231 million euros, with an increase of 6%; and imported goods for 234 million, 2 percent less.

More than 8,000 Spanish companies exported to the UAE in 2016 and of them around 2,500 are regular exporters (they have been exporting for at least four years in a row). Spanish companies consider the Emirates a distribution center for the region, so that more than 200 have established their headquarters for the Middle East there.

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