UAE is the key trade partner to France in Middle East

ABU DHABI — The UAE is the key trade partner to France in the Middle East and the two-way trade exchange of 3.5 billion euro in 2006 stands as a living example of how bilateral cooperation and investment are distinguished, according to French Ambassador to the UAE Patrice Paoli.

By (Wam)

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Published: Fri 20 Jul 2007, 9:46 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:21 PM

Speaking to Wam on the occasion of current visit by The President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to France, Paoli said the trip is of high significance as it comes one year after Shaikh Khalifa’s first visit to Paris and coincides with a new era in France with the coming of new president of France Nicolas Sarkozy to the Elysee.

On UAE-France relations under Sarkozy, the ambassador said "relations between France and Middle Eastern countries will not change under the presidency of Sarkozy. The UAE-France relations are exemplary and are developing and are set to see more progress under the stewardship of Sarkozy and Shaikh Khalifa.

He noted that bilateral friendly bonds were progressing steadily on many fronts. in the political aspect, officials in both countries continue to exchange visits, reflecting the mutual understanding between leaders of the two countries on the situation in the region.

"I don’t expect a sea change in the French policy towards the Middle East with the rising of Sarkozy to power in France and as far as the UAE is concerned, Sarkozy heralds a new page in the book of excellent UAE-France relations. I am sure, these bonds will scale to new heights and new vista of joint cooperation and coordination will be opened,” he added.

He said trade exchange between the two countries rose last year to 3.5 billion euros, underscoring the peak in bilateral bonds. UAE exports to France were doubled to 50 per cent while uae imports from France grew by 30 per cent.

Turning to the cultural relations, the French diplomat said cultural partnership were new and diverse with the launch of two major initiatives — the Paris-Sorbonne university Abu Dhabi and the Louvre Abu Dhabi which are of high profile and significance in the region and world at large.

"France is attaching great attention to such projects as they translate the UAE’s firm will to create a platform for dialogue among cultures to address ignorance which is the main cause of extremism and misunderstanding between nations," he maintained.

He indicated that the Sorbonne University and Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi were receiving full support and care from President Sarkozy.

On tourism, he expected a major development in tourism exchange as french holidaymakers to the UAE were increasing remarkably year after year. members of the french community in the UAE number 1,000 and while french tourists to the UAE reach over 300,000 a year.

Asked about Abu Dhabi tourism authority’s plan to open an office in Paris, the ambassador said it would give a big boost to tourism exchange. He indicated that France had recently open France House in Dubai to promote french tourism attractions in the region.

"France is ready to extend all possible assistance mainly its long tourism experience to the uae to promote its culture and tourism," he

added. He concluded by announcing that President Sarkozy was planning to visit the middle east shortly but the Elysee has not announced date yet.

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