Abu Dhabi and Japan explore new investment opportunities

Trade between the two countries reached $30.5 billion last year

Japan is one of Abu Dhabi’s largest trading partners, according to Added. Reuters
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Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development urged Japanese investors and entrepreneurs to benefit from investments opportunities and the ease of doing business in the UAE capital, as the emirate seeks to attract more foreign investors.

Bilateral trade between the UAE and Japan reached $30.5 billion last year with UAE exports to the Asian country rising to $24bn. Meanwhile, its imports from Japan increased to $6.5bn by the end of 2021, Added said during the eighth session of the Abu Dhabi-Japan Economic Council (Adjec) that was held online on February 1.

“Japan is among Abu Dhabi’s largest trading partners, and Japanese investments are on the rise; more than 340 Japanese companies have their bases in the UAE working in various sectors including infrastructure, industry and energy," said Mohammed Al Shorafa, chairman of Added.

"Good progress was made to strengthen co-operation in various areas including agritech, health services, biomedicine, ICT, financial services and tourism," he said.

The government of Abu Dhabi is committed to boosting the role of the private sector in the economy and incentivising start-ups and SMEs, and the emirate has outstanding investment opportunities, the government official said.

Co-operation between the UAE and Japan has expanded into non-energy sectors, enhancing trade, investments and businesses such as renewables, advanced technology and robotics, artificial intelligence, health care, medical equipment and space, said Shihab Alfaheem, UAE ambassador to Japan.

The UAE is Japan’s 10th largest trading partner globally in 2021 and meets nearly 23 per cent of its total crude oil requirements, Mr Alfaheem said.

Japan’s FDI stock is estimated at more than $4bn in 2021, while the UAE’s outward FDI stock in Japan is valued at about $2.1bn.

"New business perspectives have been developed between two countries such as Japan’s first fuel ammonia co-operation deal with Adnoc,” Mr Alfaheem said.

Innovation and youth education are important keywords for strengthening the relationship between the two countries, Isomata Akio, Japan’s ambassador to UAE, said.

"A joint declaration on the implementation of the comprehensive strategic partnership initiative is being prepared now and will be signed later this year,” he said.

An initial pact was signed between the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) and Sumitomo Corporation, and joint group discussions focused on key sectors, including sustainable energy, infrastructure, education, and human resources, according to the statement.

Abu Dhabi Investment Office (Adio) presented ways of creating business opportunities while Abu Dhabi National Oil Company presented its views on co-operation in the move to the era of carbon neutrality and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry presented the Asia energy transition initiative.

On Wednesday, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, held an online meeting with Kōichi Hagiuda, Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, state news agency Wam reported.

The officials discussed ways to tap into potential investment opportunities in the manufacturing sector and also touched upon the Emirati-Japanese Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Initiative to boost bilateral trade.

Updated: February 02, 2022, 3:45 PM