Better opportunities ahead


Better opportunities ahead
Masami Ando, Managing Director - Dubai and MENA ofJapan External Trade Organisation (JETRO)

JETRO discusses the future of Japan-UAE relations, and the impact of Expo 2020 Dubai

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Published: Mon 21 Oct 2019, 11:35 AM

Last updated: Mon 21 Oct 2019, 1:52 PM

Since the establishment of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in Dubai in 1981, the organisation has been playing a central role in expanding trade between Japan and the UAE, and a tremendous increase in bilateral trade has been witnessed in the last two decades.
The major components of bilateral trade are mineral fuels, transport equipment, general machinery, electric and electronic equipment, communication equipment, metals, textiles and foodstuff. The Japan-UAE bilateral trade in 2018 was worth more than $35.5 billion compared to around $28 billion in 2017. UAE has also been a key supplier of mineral fuels to Japan, supporting their vital energy security.   
 Under an MoU signed between the economic ministries of the UAE and Japan in 2017 with regards to innovation and small and medium enterprises, promoting joint initiatives, knowledge and technology transfer, exchange of experience and streamlining of business operations of SMEs located across the UAE, JETRO established an SME platform in the UAE in 2018, hoping to support Japanese SMEs wishing to establish businesses in the UAE. Since then, specialised consultants have been stationed in Dubai to assist businesses that need support.
In 2018 and 2019, JETRO hosted several UAE business delegations in Japan, and at the same time, initiated the visit of a number of Japanese trade teams to the UAE. During this period, JETRO has also hosted several Japanese SME caravans in the UAE, organising seminars and workshops in all the emirates.
The last in the current series of Japanese SME caravans to the UAE is expected to come in the first quarter of 2020, which will attend business events in different emirates. A number of MoUs have also been signed between JETRO and its counterparts in the UAE aiming at expanding Japan - UAE trades and investments.
During Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the UAE in April 2018, JETRO organised a UAE-Japan Business Forum in Abu Dhabi, in which more than 500 delegates from both countries attended. During bilateral talks, both countries have agreed to create a 'Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Initiative' (CSPI), targeting four main sectors, namely, politics/diplomacy, economy/trade, culture/education and defense/security.
JETRO, in cooperation with Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), as well as with JETRO's strategic partners in the UAE like the Department of Economic Development (DED) in different emirates, Chambers of Commerce & Industry, etc. is extending every support to this initiative, especially in developing the economy and trade sector. 
Prior to the expo, JETRO plans to organise several seminars and workshops to make Japanese companies aware of the tremendous opportunities that will be open to them through the mega event. 
As technology from all over the world converges in Dubai, it would be a very good opportunity for Japanese companies to see and assimilate the speed and severity of technological changes sweeping across the globe.
As the theme of the Dubai Expo is 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future', Japan expects to contribute a lot to the world through creating encounters with technologies, people and ideas from a global and future-oriented perspective.
We expect that this expo will be a major business platform for all the 190+ countries that are going to be a part of the show.  As a country that has taken on many challenges in the process of its development, Japan has already devised the means for resolving various issues. 
Building on this knowhow, it is now putting new questions to the world, encouraging empathy and taking the initiative in seeking out answers.
At the Japan Pavilion, visitors will experience instances of such encounters, empathy and actions. Our hope is to impart some insight to each person toward solving issues and living in harmony in tomorrow's world. The pavilion envisions to catalyse actions that will create a better world and sustainable future for everyone in it.
Japan wants to strengthen its voice in the global community by connecting with others, sharing and mutual understanding.  We also want to develop and promote Japanese industries, increase inbound tourism, and add to the legacy of the expo and empower the next generation with greater opportunities to realise their full potential.
Through the key word "connect," we will communicate to the world a clear vision of our potential in leading a future society based on the spirit, techniques, culture and other elements unique to Japan.
The Japan Pavilion is organised by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and co-organised by the Ministry of International Affairs and Communication; the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. JETRO is the participating organisation.  
The design and construction of the Japan Pavilion focuses on 'Connection between the Middle East and Japan' and 'Sustainability'. It is a gentle image of Japan, formed by people joining hands. The triangles of various shapes and sizes in the four corners represent people opening their hands and then joining hands with others to form a circle.
This is a new Japanese shape that transcends race, age, and gender by bringing people together and sharing our feelings. The soft circle expresses the flexibility that matches the increasingly diverse Japan of the future, the ideas that emerge from refining and uniting our thoughts to achieve this future, and our expanded visions.
The façade of the pavilion combines traditional Middle Eastern Arabesque and Japanese Asanoha, hemp leaf, patterns in a 3D origami (Japanese paper folding) structure. It has a sustainable cooling mechanism for the interior, which was inspired by the ideas of Japanese uchimizu, water sprinkling, and Middle Eastern wind-catchers. 
The construction contract was earlier awarded to Obayashi Middle East Construction to build the pavilion. As a critical starting point of our expo expedition, a groundbreaking ceremony for the Japan Pavilion at the Expo 2020 premise was held on August 26, 2019.
The ceremony was jointly inaugurated by Akihiko Nakajima, Japanese Ambassador to the UAE; Akima Umezawa, Consul General of Japan in Dubai; Tomiyasu Nakamura, Commissioner General of the Japan Pavilion; and Najeeb Mohammed Al Ali, Executive Director of the Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, in the presence of other guests. 
With our sights set on the opening on October 20 next year, we will dedicate our efforts in the time remaining, toward the success of the Dubai Expo and the Japan Pavilion. The next expo will be held in Japan, we hope that the Japan Pavilion will be a junction to connect the legacy of Dubai Expo 2020 to Expo 2025, Osaka-Kansai.

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