Japanese seek to bolster economic ties

ABU DHABI — Japanese policy makers and corporate leaders met their Arab counterparts in Abu Dhabi to review the expanding economic ties with the Middle East region.

By Haseeb Haider

Published: Tue 10 Aug 2010, 11:14 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 9:45 AM

‘The 35th Japan Co-operation Forum for the Middle East’, a two-day meeting that kicked-off in the Capital on Monday, is hosting top business decision-makers from Asia’s largest economy, in addition to its five top diplomats stationed in the region.

Jointly organised by the Japan Co-operation Centre for the Middle East (JCCME) and the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Abu Dhabi, the forum aims at reviewing economic development in the fastest growing economies in the region including the UAE. The event was opened by Under-secretary of the DED Mohammed Omar Abdullah, who described it as “a consolidation of the long and mutually-beneficial relationship between the UAE and Japan.”

“The UAE and Japan share the same concerns about the environment and sustainable development, the same passion for excellence and the same dedication in terms of the continuous transformation of our economies,” he added.

“The UAE is Japan’s second largest source of crude oil, and the 285 million barrels imported from the UAE in 2009 amounted to nearly a quarter of its total oil imports”, the under-secretary said.

Abdullah revealed that “there are more than 300 Japanese companies currently operating in the UAE, and the total Japanese investments in the country amounted to some $300 million.”

“Japan is a key investor in Abu Dhabi with a market share in foreign direct investment of above 30 per cent,” he added.

He expressed the determination of Abu Dhabi “to strengthen the investment ties with Japan.”

The Japanese delegation were given a briefing on the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 and the economic strategy to achieve this goal. Talking to the media, Hideichi Okada, director-general of Trade Policy Bureau at the Japanese ministry of economy, trade and industry, said that Abu Dhabi has a lot of investment opportunities.

Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of JCCME, stressed to further enhancing “the multi-layered relationship.”

Five country reports will be presented at the forum by Toshiro Suzuki, director-general, Middle East and African Affairs Bureau, and Japanese ambassadors in the Mena region; in addition to three business reports from Sojitz Corporation, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd and Japan Co-operation Centre for the Middle East.

Five activity reports will be presented by Nippon Export and Investment Insurance, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Japan International Cooperation Agency, New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation.

The forum will conclude with a panel discussion attended by Hideichi Okada, vice-minister for international affairs, ministry of economy, trade and industry, Toshiro Suzuki, Junzo Shimizu, president and CEO, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Tsunehisa Katsumata, chairman, Tokyo Electric Power Company and Yoshihiro Shigehisa, chairman Emeritus of JGC Group, JGC Corporation.

· haseeb@khaleejtimes.com

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