Expo participants expect bilateral trade to increase multi-folds with UAE

Since the beginning of the event in October 2021, most participating countries have organised business forums and investment summits in Dubai.


Sandhya D'Mello

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Published: Fri 25 Mar 2022, 6:26 PM

Last updated: Fri 25 Mar 2022, 6:28 PM

With Expo 2020 running its last week, several participating countries expect the bilateral trade with the UAE and the region to grow multi-fold in the coming years. The Dubai event is the first world expo held in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region.

The Expo was a platform to develop bilateral relationships with the UAE and the region from a business perspective. The 'world's greatest show' provided avenues for countries to expand trade ties with other participants.

Since the beginning of the event in October 2021, most participating countries have organised business forums and investment summits in Dubai. Several pavilions have hosted trade missions from their home countries in the last few months.

"The Expo has allowed us to strengthen the relationship between Brazil and the UAE. We have always had a great relationship with the country through food exports. However, this Expo has allowed us to expand on that relationship and gain new opportunities in the Middle East region," Elias Martins Filho, Commissioner-General of Brazil Pavilion, Expo 2020, told Khaleej Times.

"We expect an increase in FDI in the food and agriculture sector. We are also expecting increased tourism to Brazil after the Expo based on how successful and popular our pavilion was this year," he added.

Switzerland was among the first countries to confirm participation in the Dubai event.

"Our pavilion has been an important vehicle to further strengthen relations with the UAE, Switzerland's most important trading partner in the Middle East, promoting Switzerland's economic strength and appeal as a tourist destination." Manuel Salchli, commissioner-general of the Swiss pavilion, told Khaleej Times.

While Brazil and Switzerland are among the nations with a long-standing diplomatic and business relationship with the UAE, there are several others for whom Expo marks a new beginning.

During the course of the Expo, south American country Paraguay announced its plans to open an embassy in the UAE. Barbados is all set to open its mission office in Abu Dhabi soon.

"Expo 2020 has exposed nations to the dynamic regional community, including consumers, industries, investors, and other potential stakeholders, as part of any long-term plan," Praveen Nair, CEO, IRIMA, told Khaleej Times.

Nair's company, a specialist in managing trade offices of countries, has worked with some pavilions with their business needs.

"We have been approached by countries and companies that want to reach out and make meaningful connections in this market and further, in Asia. Our location in the UAE helps us connect and manage these interests efficiently, either as representatives or facilitators. Conversely, we have seen local businesses in the UAE identify new investment, sourcing, and trade opportunities with countries they have seen only on maps," Nair said.

Countries are already calculating the business benefits from their participation.

We expect returns of $45 for every $1 invested in investment and export promotion activities in the Expo 2020, "said Estefenia Laterza, Vice-Minister for Investments and Exports Network, Rediex (by its Spanish initials) of Paraguay.

With her country's participation in Expo, Laterza added, "We strengthened our economic, strategic and diplomatic ties with the UAE and the rest of the countries in the region. We are particularly enthusiastic about opening reciprocal embassies between our countries, which will increasingly facilitate trade and investment between our countries." — sandhya@khaleejtimes.com

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