UAE keen on bolstering foreign relations, says minister

KAZAN — Bilateral relations between the UAE and Tatarstan are unique due to their close visions for development and a shared interest in boosting their vital economic sectors to achieve sustainable development, UAE Minister of State Dr. Rashid bin Ahmed bin Fahad said in a speech delivered at a meeting with Rustam Minnikhanov, President of Tatarstan, on the sidelines of the 9th International Economic Summit “Russia – Islamic World: Kazan Summit 2017.”

Relations between the UAE and Russia are also unique and underpinned by a shared desire to continue co-operation in all spheres with a focus on economic and trade sectors, he said.

The minister spoke about potential opportunities for fruitful partnerships between the UAE and Tatarstan, citing the halal food industry as one area of increasing growth globally.

The UAE delegation, headed by bin Fahad, includes representatives of government departments and private sector organisations.

Abdullah Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs, noted at one of the summit’s sessions that more than US$8 billion is being invested in the Islamic economy because it has proved to be resilience to successive economic changes and challenges while providing a platform for safe and responsible investment.

Banking assets in the Islamic economy exceed $800 billion, making it the fastest growing sector in the world with a rate of between 10 to 15 percent and a consumer base accounting for 23 percent of the world’s population, he noted.

“The UAE takes great interest in boosting its foreign relations and creating promising development partnerships,” he added, while highlighting that relations with Russia are historic and feature a shared interest in promoting co-operation in sectors such as industries, transportation, space and nuclear energy, among others.

The UAE’s decision, earlier this year, to grant visa on arrival to Russian citizens at all entry points represented a milestone in strategic co-operation that would further drive economic and trade relations in the coming period. The non-oil trade between the two countries in the first nine months of 2016 stood at more than $1.6 billion, compared to $2.5 billion in 2015, he said.

By the end of 2015, over 3,000 registered Russian companies were operating in the UAE while Russian investments in the UAE stood at more than $780 million in 2015, according to the UAE official.

Describing the UAE as a leader in Islamic economy, Al Saleh cited initiatives launched by the country that includes “Dubai: Capital of Islamic Economy” and the establishment of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre.

Eight out of 57 banks operating in the UAE are Islamic and achieved a growth of 10.7 per cent in their assets in 2014, Al Saleh said, while stressing that the UAE can lead the global sukuk market.

The session, which focussed on the Islamic banking sector, tackled the wide international interest in Islamic economy as one of the world’s fastest growing financial sectors. Participants said that with a Muslim population of 20 million, Russian banks should also show interest in this vital sector.

Source: Emirates News Agency