UAE Minister of Economy talks investment with Russia

A delegation of senior government and business officials will head to Moscow this week as ties between Russia and the UAE grow.

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The Minister of Economy will head a delegation of senior government and business officials to Russia later this week as commercial ties between the two countries grow.

Sultan Al Mansouri’s visit to Moscow for the UAE-Russian Business Forum on Thursday is aimed at enhancing trade and investment links, according to a statement yesterday from Wam, the official news agency. About 40 government and business officials will accompany him.

Russia is trying to boost investment from the Middle East and Asia as it seeks to stop its economy from sliding into recession as a result of a reversal of capital by western investors and a weakened ruble. The United States and European Union rolled out sanctions against 98 individuals and 20 companies in March because of Russia’s involvement in the crisis in neighbouring Ukraine.

The Qatar Investment Authority, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, was allocating US$2 billion to Russia in joint investments with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive of the Russian government-backed fund, said last month. The deal followed the Bahraini sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat Holding the same month agreeing to pursue potential joint investments with the RDIF, which was set up by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, three years ago.

Mr Al Mansouri said last month that a pledge by the Abu Dhabi Department of Finance to invest $5bn in Russian infrastructure projects was a “major turning point” in relations between the two countries. The agreement was signed in September as part of an investment partnership with the RDIF. Mubadala Development, the Abu Dhabi government-owned strategic investment company, last June also announced the launch of a $2bn co-investment fund with the RDIF to pursue opportunities in Russia.

“There is significant potential to step up cooperation with Russia and we are working to realise this potential to the extent possible,” he said at the time.

Mr Al Mansouri will hold talks in Moscow with several Russian officials including Alexei Ulyukayev, the minister of economic development, to discuss how to boost links, especially in the trade, investment, industry, technology, renewable energy, oil, water purification, food and diamond fields.

Bilateral non-oil trade rose by 7.5 per cent last year to $897 million, according to Wam.

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