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French food products gaining traction in UAE

Food and beverage products from France are gaining momentum in the UAE.

French exports to the UAE represent around 400 million euros in sales annually and the leading exports include beverages (30 per cent), dairy products (16 per cent) and fruits (9 per cent), according to Business France, the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy.

France hosted SIAL Paris, the world’s largest food innovation exhibition that ended on Thursday. The UAE was once again an active participant at the event held every two years.

This was discussed between Kamal Vachani, group director of Al Maya Group, and Raja Rabia, Consul-General of France in Dubai, who visited an Al Maya Supermarket in Dubai. Vachani said that a large number of UAE companies participate in SIAL, including a delegation of senior officials from Al Maya Group. Al Maya Group has over 50 supermarkets in the GCC countries in addition to other businesses.

More steam needed for shift to green economy

Organisations in various sectors across the world need to do more to help advance the sustainability agenda, experts at the second day of The World Green Economy Summit (WGES 2018) said.

The extent and urgency of the challenges on the path toward a green economy are profound, experts noted. The Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals illustrate that the transition towards a green economy will require transformations that reshape our systems of production, distribution and consumption. Inevitably, the shift to a green economy will create winners and losers across specific regions, sectors and organisations.

Climate change and a failure to decide on actions necessary to combat it were identified as some of the major issues that were highlighted in the World Green Economy Report 2018. The report was commissioned by the World Green Economy Organisation to advance the sustainability agenda. It aims to illustrate the diversity and depth of innovation that is already underway towards a green economy and to highlight opportunities and priorities for action. “We launched the first World Green Economy Report 2018, ‘Inspiring Innovations in Business, Finance and Policy,’ in collaboration with the University of Cambridge and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This shows the need to adopt more depth and diversity in our approach to building a real green economy and moving the global sustainability agenda forwards,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, vice chairman of The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE), and president of the Emirates Energy Award (EEA), at the event.

“We are working on the Green Gate Initiatives, to encompass all the green programmes that will streamline the sustainable journey,” he pointed out. “We are empowering the young entrepreneurs who have the potential to generate innovative, sustainable solutions that will contribute to advancing green growth and sustainable development at the local, regional and international levels.”

UAE to invest $5b in food corridor project

The UAE, the largest Arab investor in India, will invest a further $5 billion in India-UAE food corridor project over the next three years, a senior official of the UAE Ministry of Economy said on Wednesday.

Currently, the UAE accounts for 81.2 per cent of the total Arab investments, at around $10 billion, including FDI of almost $5 billion, Abdulla Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary for Foreign Trade and Industry at the UAE Ministry of Economy.

Speaking at the fourth edition of the annual UAE-India Economic Forum (UIEF) in Dubai, Al Saleh said two million Indian farmers would benefit from the ambitious food corridor project, which will also create an additional 200,000 jobs across India.

“India’s fertile land grows enough food to feed 1.2 billion people. However, 30 per cent of the food is wasted. The UAE could bring in the required investments for mega food processing parks, huge cold storage facilities, warehousing, logistics, transport facilities, so that the UAE entities can buy food when the crop comes into the market benefitting both the UAE market and the Indian farmers,” the undersecretary said.

“The UAE, which has identified 20 specific food products to be imported form India, will stand to benefit from the project and farmers also get a better price. It’s a win-win situation,” he told delegates of the forum organised by UMS Conferences.

Jet fuel pipeline on track for completion, says ENOC

Enoc Group has announced that the construction of its 16.2km jet fuel pipeline linking its storage terminals in Jebel Ali to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South has now exceeded 20 per cent, and is scheduled to be operational in the first quarter of 2020, in time for the Dubai Expo 2020.

Upon completion, the pipeline will carry 2,000 cubic metres of jet fuel per hour to Al Maktoum International Airport, which is billed to be the world’s largest, and will help meet the demand for aviation services from a significant proportion of the international visitors to the Expo. Set to meet the demand for jet fuel at Dubai Airports up until 2050, the pipeline will be equipped with state-of-the-art safety features including a leak detection system, complete automation control and quality control, among others.

Dubai means business: DED issues 13,825 new licences in the first 9 months of 2018

Unfazed by slowdown in global economy, Dubai stays on growth path and retains its appeal for business destination in the region as more investors preferred to renew their trade licences in the first 9 months of this year.

The latest report issued by the Business Registration and Licensing (BRL) sector of the Department of Economic Development (DED), showed 0.47 per cent year-on-year growth in renew-modify trade licences during January-September 2018 as the department issued 23,963 licences in the category compared to 23,850 in the same period last year. During the period, the department also issued 13,825 new trade licences.

The DED, which has launched various initiatives on ease of doing business by cutting red tapes in line with the government policy to attract foreign investors, reported a huge growth rate of 236 per cent in instant trade licence issuance during the first 9 months of 2018. It issued 840 instant licence in January-September 2018 period as against 250 in similar period last year.

Instant licenses take less than five minutes for issuance and it is one of the most popular categories among investors. The instant licence issued in a single step without the need for either a memorandum of association or an existing location for the first year only.

Commercial category remained a top choice of investors as it accounted for 61.2 per cent of the total licences issued during the period. Professional category (36.5 per cent), tourism (1.2 per cent) and industrial (1.1 per cent) also attracted investors from across the globe to start new business in Dubai. The report showed that the top nationalities that secured licences were from India and Pakistan, followed by Britain, Egypt and France.

Jitendra Gianchandani, chairman and managing partner of Jitendra Consulting Group, said Dubai provides an ideal business environment as well as strategic location to the investors.


Pakistan to get oil concessions, $3b from Saudi

Saudi Arabia has agreed to give Pakistan $3 billion in foreign currency support for a year and allow it to defer payments for oil imports to help stave off a current accounts crisis, Pakistan’s government said on Tuesday

The agreement came as new Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan attended a Saudi investment conference that has been boycotted by several other leaders over the death of a dissident Saudi writer at the country’s consulate in Istanbul.

“It was agreed Saudi Arabia will place a deposit of $3 Billion for a period of one year as balance of payment support,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“It was also agreed that a one year deferred payment facility for import of oil, up to $3 billion, will be provided by Saudi Arabia. This arrangement will be in place for three years, which will be reviewed thereafter.”

Dubai is MENA powerhouse

Dubai has retained its top position in the Mena region among the world’s top 44 powerful cities in terms of economic strength, research and development, cultural interaction, liveability, environment and accessibility.

According to the annual Global Power City Index 2018 released by Mori Memorial Foundation’s Institute for Urban Strategies, the emirate was the 29th most powerful city in the world and the only city from the Mena region.

Despite a six position drop in its ranking as compared to last year’s index, the emirate was rated stronger than Geneva, Milan, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, Taipei, Bangkok and Mumbai among others.

In terms of economic growth, Dubai was the 17th most powerful city, stronger than the likes of Geneva, Washington, Paris, Frankfurt, Boston, Brussels, Vienna and others. The emirate even fared better in accessibility and cultural interaction sub-indexes where it was ranked 12th and 13th, respectively. In sub-indexes of research and development, liveability and environment, the emirate was ranked 35th, 23rd, and 38th, respectively.

One of the key reasons for Dubai’s economic strength, according to the Index, is its leadership position in offering the lowest corporate income tax at 0 per cent, excluding some corporate entities such as those engaged in the production of oil and gas. Dubai was followed by Hong Kong with 16.5 per cent corporate tax rate, Singapore at 17 per cent, London at 19 per cent and Beijing/Shanghai at 25 per cent.

The report cites rich availability of facilities that cater to higher-income tourists as key reasons for strong rating in cultural interaction for Dubai. While strong air connectivity of Dubai with other cities around the world supports its rating for accessibility. The emirate is rated 5th after London, Paris, Frankfurt and Istanbul for connectivity with 226 cities with direct international flights.

Monica Malik, chief economist, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, attributes Dubai’s broad economic base and dynamic and integrated policy framework as key strengths of its economy.

“The catchment area for Dubai’s economy as a service hub continues to expand. The level of infrastructure remains high with investment focusing on key requirements of the economy. Policy focuses on improving the ease of doing business and strengthening the competitiveness of the economy,” she said.

Monica pointed out that key challenges currently facing the economy are tightening monetary policy, external challenges including soft regional demand, weak household confidence and the ongoing real estate correction.

Lenie Assaad, associate, Allied Investment Partners, believes Dubai’s economy enjoys a competitive combination of cost, market and environment advantages that create an ideal and attractive investment climate for both local and expatriate businesses, which enables Dubai to compete on an international level.

“Furthermore, its strategic location, a buoyant local economy and its shift towards an innovation and knowledge-based economy are forecast to positively affect Dubai and its economic prosperity, strategically solidifying its status for the years to come. Lastly, the UAE is implementing significant reforms with the aim of attracting foreign funds. This includes granting non-Emiratis full ownership of private businesses in Dubai and Abu Dhabi even in the absence of a local partner, as well as allowing selected investor professionals entitlement to prolonged residency permits of up to 10 years. Both of these initiatives increase the probability of expatriates setting up roots in the UAE rather than treating it as a transitory life phase,” she said.

Additionally, she said Dubai aims to be the first smart city in the region by 2021 by introducing the Smart City platform. Dubai’s smart city project involves eight key pillars: telecommunication, tourism, utilities, education, buildings, pubic safety, transportation and healthcare, all of which based on and facilitated by technology.

Manoj Krishnan, head of private wealth at Continental Financial Services, believes Dubai’s biggest strength is a diversified economic base with oil contributing just about 4-5 per cent of the GDP.

“With the strong and futuristic leadership at the helm, Dubai has developed a strong international brand name as a well-regulated and well managed investment destination. Dubai has become a gateway to the Middle East for various industries like banking and finance, real estate, construction, media, IT and international trade apart from flourishing tourism industry. Industry specific free zones add the necessary infrastructure focus for doing business more easily and cost efficiently,” Krishnan added.

“We also add credit to the highly skilled labour force in Dubai which has the ease of finding and retaining good international talent in various sectors. The pro-business attitude at government departments with a literally zero tax regime supports local businesses to face a global challenge in terms of business and trade,” he added.

He suggested that the cost of initial setup of business in Dubai is high which acts as an entry barrier and should be addressed so that a more competitive market could be created.

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