UAE explores joint investment opportunities with Caribbean nations at Havana fair

Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy, meets several ministers to discuss ways to enhance economic and trade co-operation

Abdulla Bin Touq, Minister of Economy, speaking at a press conference in Abu Dubai. Victor Besa / The National
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The UAE Ministry of Economy is exploring joint investment opportunities with several Caribbean nations as the Arab world’s second-largest economy continues to seek new economic partnerships across the globe.

Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy, has met several ministers from Caribbean countries to discuss mechanisms to enhance economic and trade co-operation, and agreed on new action plans that can help expand economic co-operation, the ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Mr bin Touq also held a series of bilateral meetings with several ministers in the Cuban government, including Betsy Diaz, Minister of Internal Trade, and Rodrigo Malmierca, Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, on the sidelines of the Havana International Fair 2022.

The minister also met Alejandro Fernandez, Cuba’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Planning, and held meetings with private sector representatives.

The ministry is exploring opportunities for co-operation and investment in sectors including energy, manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, transportation, communications, information technology and health care.

“Caribbean countries are a promising destination for investment and trade as they offer diverse economic opportunities,” Mr bin Touq said.

“The UAE is keen to develop partnerships with this region’s business community and promote business and investment exchanges in a way that supports the development aspirations of both sides.”

The Havana visit has helped in showcasing economic initiatives that have already been launched by the UAE, including Projects of the 50 and the Comprehensive Economic Partnerships Agreements (Cepa) programme, the minister said.

The Caribbean private sector was briefed on the comprehensive development of the economic legislation in the UAE that cements the country's position as a global hub for trade and investment,” Mr bin Touq added.

Mr bin Touq called on the Caribbean business community to capitalise on the incentives and investment opportunities offered by the UAE, especially in the new economy sectors and financial services.

Investopia, a UAE government initiative to boost investments, also held a briefing session for the Caribbean business community to highlight the investment opportunities, as the UAE prepares for the next 50 years of growth and development.

The UAE has introduced several programmes and regulatory reforms to boost trade and investment. The country is seeking new partnerships across the globe and this year has signed Cepa deals with India, Indonesia and Israel.

It is currently holding negotiations with Turkey, Georgia, Colombia and Cambodia.

The UAE economy expanded 8.4 per cent in the first quarter of this year, exceeding initial estimates, and is set for the fastest annual growth since 2011.

The pace of gross domestic product growth in the first quarter — significantly sharper than the 2.1 per cent pre-pandemic GDP level — was above a previous 8.2 per cent estimate by UAE Central Bank.

The UAE’s foreign trade for the first six months of this year exceeded Dh1 trillion ($272 billion), compared with Dh840 billion for the same period before the pandemic, according to government data.

The non-oil trade exchange between the UAE and the Caribbean market reached nearly Dh422 million in 2021, while the volume of UAE’s non-oil exports to the region amounted to nearly Dh90 million.

The UAE’s re-exports to the Caribbean countries reached Dh174 million last year, a 2 per cent growth from a year earlier. Caribbean imports to the UAE grew by 29 per cent to Dh158 million in 2021, the ministry of economy said.

Updated: November 18, 2022, 10:20 AM