On the second day of the economic mission, chaired by H.R.H. the Hereditary Grand Duke, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy, Etienne Schneider, signed with the Minister of the Economy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, a cooperation agreement establishing a regular and quasi-institutional economic dialogue, also covering areas such as agriculture, industry, science, education and tourism. Stressing the importance the two countries attach to the continued development of their trade relations, the enhanced cooperation in the economic field follows numerous agreements already existing between the UAE and Luxembourg, particularly in the field of finance. The UAE is the second largest economy in the Gulf, behind Saudi Arabia, with a GDP of 428 billion in 2019.
A business delegation, composed of 90 representatives of Luxembourg companies, attended an economic seminar organized by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce with local partners at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Dubai. The objective of this seminar was to look for synergies and new business opportunities between the two countries. The welcome speech was delivered by H.R.H. the Hereditary Grand Duke: "During the last 10 years, I have had the pleasure of visiting the UAE, and in particular Dubai, on many occasions. Each time, I was impressed by the pace of growth and development of this country and this city. I am delighted to see such a lively and dynamic UAE community that devotedly respects and safeguards its heritage. In Luxembourg too, we aim to combine tradition and economic development, especially in high-tech sectors."
In his opening speech, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy, Étienne Schneider, said: "The UAE is by far Luxembourg's most important trading partner in the Gulf region. Luxembourg's presence at Expo 2020 will further boost our bilateral relations, which have enabled us to build a bridge between our two countries, both considered as investment areas and hubs in their respective regions".
Afterwards, H.R.H. the Hereditary Grand Duke and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Health, Étienne Schneider, visited the Luxembourg pavilion at the ArabHealth exhibition in Dubai, which is considered one of the most important platforms in the world dedicated to the healthcare industry. 6 companies are present on the Luxembourg stand: Ai Mediq, BioMind, Ceodeux, ExoAtlet, IMA-X and Scipharm. This is Luxembourg's second official participation: as in 2019, the Luxembourg presence is jointly organised and financed by the Ministry of the Economy and the Chamber of Commerce.
Bilateral relations in the financial sector
The 28 January was also devoted to the promotion of the Luxembourg financial centre. On the sidelines of the Luxembourg-UAE Business Forum, Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna praised the good performance of Luxembourg funds in the region and highlighted: "The distribution of Luxembourg funds in the UAE is the fastest growing in the entire MENA region, and Luxembourg funds, which represent a market share of 75% of the international funds marketed in the UAE, already today enable investors in the region to make positive choices so that their assets support sustainable development".
Pierre Gramegna also had a meeting with Arif Amiri, the CEO of the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC). Arif Amiri outlined the development priorities of the DIFC for the coming years, with particular emphasis on digitalisation and sustainable finance. In this respect, the Minister of Finance and Mr Almiri discussed ways of strengthening cooperation between the Luxembourg and Dubai financial centres.
Pierre Gramegna commented: "Our financial centres have many similarities and complementary interests. There are many opportunities in both ways: Our diversified and international financial centre is an essential gateway to the European market for players in the region and the Dubai financial centre plays a central role for financial institutions wishing to develop their activities in the Gulf region. This mission has highlighted opportunities for further collaboration in the fields of sustainable finance and Fintech".
The Minister also had a meeting with experts in Islamic finance. Discussions focused on the growing convergence between Islamic and sustainable finance, and how Luxembourg can bring all its know-how to the table thanks to the confirmed expertise of its financial centre in the field of green and sustainable finance.
Chamber of Commerce lays further groundwork in the UAE
At the end of the day, Carlo Thelen, Director General of the Chamber of Commerce signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Chamber of Commerce of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the UAE in order to strengthen their collaboration.
Press release by the Information and Press Service (SIP)