Sharjah plans to attract more Japanese firms

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Sharjah plans to attract more Japanese firms
Senior executives from Sharjah and Japan attend a roundtable to explore new investment opportunities.

dubai - The UAE and Japan transacted $25 billion worth of business last year

By Staff Report

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Published: Sat 16 Dec 2017, 6:48 PM

Last updated: Sat 16 Dec 2017, 8:51 PM

Government entities, enterprises and private businesses from Japan and Sharjah recently met to discuss investment opportunities.

For the first time, an international business meeting was brought to a site of historical importance in the region - the Mleiha Archaeological Centre - a flagship project of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq). The roundtable was hosted by Invest in Sharjah (IIS) in collaboration with Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) to explore new commercial avenues.

The meeting highlighted the past successes between the UAE and Japan, which includes $25 billion (Dh91.8 billion) worth of business last year, representing 32 per cent of Japan's entire trade with Middle Eastern countries.

Building on the success of the first Sharjah-Japan Business Roundtable, which was held in April 2014, this second roundtable served as a key networking platform, which brought the two parties together to shed light on business developments and investment achievements between Sharjah and Japan, in addition to share insights on how Japanese investors can diversify their business in the emirate.

Among the representatives taking part from Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sharjah Economic Development Department, Shams - Sharjah Media Free Zone, the Research Technology & Innovation Park under American University of Sharjah Enterprise, Bee'ah - Sharjah Environment Company, Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority and Sharjah Healthcare City all showcased their potential as working partners.

Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, said: "Japan is a key trading partner of the UAE and accounts for a significant share of bilateral trade over the years. The ties between Japan and the UAE in general and Sharjah in particular have seen growth over recent years. As Sharjah continues to increase its focus on worldwide investors, Japan will become even more involved in our drive towards an innovative economy."
He added: "The projects and initiatives we are developing in terms of tourism, technology, the environment and healthcare are not only a landmark in the services we provide to the residents of Sharjah, the doors they open for overseas investors are also enormous. Sharjah has become a destination rather than a location in terms of global trade and our potential has become a reality - one which Japanese businesses can use to their advantage."

Emphasising the importance of having a regional base in the UAE, Masami Ando, managing director at Jetro (Dubai and Mena), said: "In January 2017, the UAE's and Japan's ministers of economy signed an MoU to boost Japanese businesses to set up in the UAE. Following from this agreement, Jetro Dubai has opened a small and medium enterprise platform to provide specialised advisory support to Japanese SMEs. There are over 300 Japanese companies operating in the UAE, with most of them concentrated in the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Our recent strategy has been to expand our reach into the northern emirates, and we believe that this roundtable is a fantastic opportunity for Japanese companies to better understand the business environment here in Sharjah and explore new investment opportunities."

Akima Umezawa, Consul-General of Japan in Dubai, said: "Last month at the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival, Mena Research Partners claimed the value of SMEs is likely to skyrocket over the next five years in the GCC, especially in the UAE. So, the future success of SMEs in the UAE has been promised based on concrete grounds."

"Sharjah is special in the UAE as it commits itself fully to multiculturalism - a great quality that enables foreign investments to swiftly run their businesses," he added.

Khalid bin Butti Al Hajri, director-general, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: "In recent years, Sharjah and Japan have witnessed a rapidly growing and mutually beneficial trade relationship in a wide array of sectors - from technology to manufacturing and finance. The SCCI is keen to contribute to growing this relationship. The visa on arrival for Emirati nationals to Japan is one of the many examples of the growing trust and goodwill between the two countries. We are here to offer business incentives, country-specific consultation and keen insights to Japanese businesses willing to expand their businesses in the Arab region with Sharjah as their base."   

With more than 50 registered Japanese companies currently operating in Sharjah, dealing with products and services as varied as manufacturing and renewable energy to food and retail, the spectrum of sectors is increasing in line with the dollar value of investment.


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