Investopia Europe 2024: UAE Economy Minister highlights strong strategic ties with EU, vows to deepen mutually beneficial relationship

H.E. Bin Touq meets with ministers and top EU officials to discuss prospects for enhancing economic cooperation
Investopia Europe 2024: UAE Economy Minister highlights strong strategic ties with EU, vows to deepen mutually beneficial relationship
The second edition of Investopia Europe, held in Milan, brought together more than 600 participants, including government leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs. (Photo Credit: WAM)

H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, UAE minister of Economy and chairman of Investopia, held several high-level meetings with ministers, senior government officials, and private sector representatives in the European Union (EU) on the sidelines of the second edition of ‘Investopia Europe’ in Milan, Italy. The meetings aimed to enhance prospects for stronger economic cooperation by enabling the European private sector to benefit from the latest edition of ‘Investopia Dialogues’ held in Europe.

During the meetings, the Minister of Economy highlighted that the UAE-EU relations are strategic and highly developed in all fields. He expressed the UAE’s desire to further strengthen the economic and investment ties with the EU to support the growth and sustainability of both economies.

UAE minister holds meeting with Italian counterpart

H.E. Bin Touq held a meeting with his Italian counterpart, H.E. Giancarlo Giorgetti, to discuss new mechanisms and strategies to strengthen economic cooperation between the UAE and Italy, increase investment exchanges in sectors of common interest, and create more investment opportunities for the private sector. The two ministers discussed the expansion of existing partnerships in key economic sectors, particularly in the new economy, energy, manufacturing, infrastructure, tourism, and technology.

H.E. said: “The economic ties between the two countries are flourishing, with Italy being the UAE’s primary trading partner in the EU. More than 600 Italian companies currently operate in various economic sectors within the UAE. The UAE’s investments in Italy amounted to approximately $300 million between 2018 and 2022, whereas Italian FDI in the UAE reached nearly $343 million during the same period.”

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Italian private sector urged to capitalize on benefits offered by UAE economy

H.E. Bin Touq’s meeting with H.E. Adolfo Urso, Italy’s minister of industry, focused on strengthening collaboration in establishing new projects across various economic sectors and maximizing the benefits offered by economic agreements and partnerships between the two countries. They explored ways to enable both UAE and Italian private sectors to benefit from ‘Investopia Europe,’ a key platform to explore promising investment opportunities in emerging markets and learn about global investment trends in new economic sectors.

H.E. Bin Touq urged the Italian private sector to take advantage of the UAE’s dynamic business environment, which is teeming with promising economic prospects. He highlighted the flexible and competitive economic regulations and policies that facilitate the establishment of various businesses, entrepreneurial activities, and innovative startup ventures in the country. Most notably, this includes the amendments made to the Commercial Companies Law to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership of companies. This adjustment led to the incorporation of over 275,000 new companies in just 18 months, taking the total number of companies operating in the UAE to more than 788,000 by the end of 2023. The UAE’s top global ranking as an ideal destination to set up new business ventures, as recognized by the GEM 2023-2024 report, was also highlighted during the meeting.

Development of economic partnership between UAE and Cyprus

During another bilateral meeting with H.E. George Papanastasiou, minister of energy, commerce, and industry of Cyprus, H.E. Bin Touq discussed the development of the UAE-Cyprus economic partnership in new economic sectors, including tourism, entrepreneurship, technology, green economy, energy, renewable energy, circular economy, digital transformation, health, and education.

Moreover, H.E. Bin Touq highlighted the UAE’s efforts in diversifying its national economy and shifting towards new economic sectors, thus creating a more flexible and sustainable economic model. As a result, the non-oil sector’s contribution to the UAE’s GDP reached 74 percent. The Minister of Economy also shed light on the innovative strategies and initiatives adopted by the country such as the ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision that aims to position the country as a global hub for the new economy, while also doubling the UAE economy to AED3 trillion by the next decade.

Strengthening of economic cooperation with Malta

H.E. Bin Touq’s meeting with H.E. Silvio Schembri, Malta’s minister of economy, Institutions, and Strategic Enterprises, explored the means to develop economic cooperation frameworks and diversify existing partnerships. The two sides agreed on intensified action to offer tailored programs and enablers needed to accelerate the growth of startups in both markets, increase their investments, and support their exports to access new markets.

Investopia Europe
During Investopia Europe. (Photo Credit: WAM)

Discussion on strengthening UAE-EU ties

H.E. met with H.E. Marco Zanni, Member of the European Parliament, to explore the strengthening of economic and investment relations between the UAE, EU, and Italy, especially since the UAE is the EU’s largest export destination and investment partner in the Middle East and North Africa region. The two sides addressed the importance of exploring new opportunities to deepen cooperation in many economic sectors, including energy, renewable energy, agricultural technology, artificial intelligence, and fintech.

Another meeting with Mr Luigi Di Maio, EU Special Representative for the Gulf region, discussed the means to enhance coordination in developing various aspects of economic cooperation between the UAE and EU, and exchanging views and discussions on a range of key economic files.

Cooperation with Intesa Sanpaolo in the field of circular economy

Moreover, H.E.’s meeting with Carlo Messina, CEO of leading Italian banking group Intesa Sanpaolo, discussed the strengthening of cooperation in the adoption of circular economy policies and sharing best practices and experiences that support the UAE’s transition towards circular economy. The Ministry of Economy had signed a strategic agreement with Intesa Sanpaolo in October 2023 in this regard.

The second edition of Investopia Europe, held in Milan, brought together more than 600 participants, including government leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, experts, decision-makers, and representatives of numerous private sector companies and financial institutions from the UAE, Italy, Malta, Cyprus, and Portugal. The event is part of the Investopia Dialogues series.

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