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UAE-EU FTA could be concluded soon

Haseeb Haider
Filed on January 28, 2007

ABU DHABI — Calling it 'complex and complicated', Swedish Deputy Trade Minister Hans Jeppson yesterday hoped the UAE-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would be concluded in coming two to three months time.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, at a reception hosted by the Swedish Ambassador Bruno S. Beijer, the trade minister said that there had been some initial hiccups which has been resolved.

"But since EU is a large economic bloc comprising 25 nations, it will take little more time to overcome the obstacles," he said. As far as, Sweden is concerned we have no issues with the FTA, he added.

Jeppson hoped the FTA would give a new impetus to trade and investments with Gulf, the world's most promising region.

The minister, said that during his visit to the UAE, he has already called on Minister of Economy Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi and discussed ways and means to bolster the already expanding trade relations.

"We have a strong presence of 200 companies, including some globally known companies. But, now we are focusing on bringing small and medium Swedish companies, to take advantage of the booming economy of the UAE," Hans Jeppson said.

About his visit, he said apart from meeting with the UAE business community, he inaugurated the Swedish Trade Council's New Regional Trade Office in Dubai to facilitate trade promotion.

Swedish Ambassador Bruno S. Beijer said that the two countries have excellent trade and economic relations. "There has been great interest among the UAE's investors to invest in the real estate sector in Sweden," he said, adding that Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) has recently purchased one of the top shopping centres, Sturegallerian, in Sweden. Known for its surrounding restaurants and facilities which were sold out for Dh2 billion, it would be instrumental in bringing more investment from the UAE, he said terming the buyout as milestone.

"With the opening of the new trade office, Sweden's capacity to assist trade between Sweden and the UAE will be boosted considerably," said the ambassador. He said that the new trade office will work in close cooperation with the Embassy and with the Swedish business councils in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which will be opened later this year.

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