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UAE, Latam poised to benefit from post-Covid business prospects

Around 300 bilateral business meetings were also held during the two-day forum that concluded on Thursday. It was organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai under the theme “Towards a Resilient Future”



Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, said Dubai is a gateway for companies wishing to launch their operations and expand into the region’s promising markets. — Supplied photo
Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, said Dubai is a gateway for companies wishing to launch their operations and expand into the region’s promising markets. — Supplied photo
by

Issac John

Published: Thu 24 Mar 2022, 6:28 PM

The UAE and Latin American (Latam) companies can benefit from new trade and business opportunities created by the Covid-19 pandemic if they align their efforts and build bridges of cooperation.

In order to enable closer working with the UAE businesses, Latin American companies need to undergo a paradigm shift in their approach. Both sides need to get together more often and eliminate prejudices that may exist, according to industry experts speaking at the Global Business Forum Latin America in Dubai on Thursday.

Around 300 bilateral business meetings were also held during the two-day forum that concluded on Thursday. It was organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai under the theme “Towards a Resilient Future".

“In the fourth edition of the forum, we were able to build many new ties that will shape the future of strategic relations between Dubai, the wider GCC, and the 27 countries that make up Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers.

“We presented an integrated picture of the business environment, highlighted joint investment opportunities, brought investors together, and drew attention to the pivotal role of Dubai as a gateway for companies wishing to launch their operations and expand into the region’s promising markets. We look forward to seeing these interactions translating into new economic partnerships,” said Buamim.

On Wednesday, while opening the forum, Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of Dubai Chambers, said as Dubai works towards the target of boosting foreign trade to $544 billion within the next five years, Latam will be a key focus for the emirate’s ambitious strategy.

“Looking at the latest economic indicators, you can see just how far Dubai and the Latin American market have come in developing and expanding their business ties.” Dubai imports from LATAM were worth “well above $6 billion” between 2018 to 2020, with food being a major contributor. That figure reached $4.8 billion between January and September last year alone. Exports from Dubai to LATAM, meanwhile, reached $687 million between January and September of last year, exceeding the total exports of 2020

“I believe the Covid-19 pandemic will shift our world from a globalised to a more regionalised one,” said Marco Riquelme, vice president for International Relations at the Paraguayan Industrial Union. He was speaking at a panel session titled Trade in the Post-Covid World.

Rodolfo Sabonge, secretary-general of the Association of Caribbean States from Panama noted that it was countries with the best connectivity are the ones best positioned for post-Covid trade. “There is no trade unless you can connect and transport, which also includes digital transformation to run trade smoothly and connect with the world.”

The UAE is a key digital economy partner for Latin America, according to industry leaders speaking at the forum.

A panel session at the forum entitled Empower - Fostering A Digital Economy was joined by Min Chen, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Wisy, Panama’s first unicorn startup based in San Francisco, and Alaa El Huni head of Partnerships and Expansion at Cafu in UAE, on the importance of the digital economy in supporting economic growth.

The panellists discussed how the UAE has created a stimulating environment for the growth and development of digital companies and noted that Latin American markets are rich in human expertise and competencies specialised in digital transformation.

Growing momentum behind digital banking in Latin America presents significant avenues for collaboration between industry players in the region and their counterparts in the UAE and the Middle East, according to panellists at a separate session.

Leading financial and banking institutions from the UAE, Colombia, and Mexico, revealed new insights into the development of the financial sector across the Latin America and the Middle East regions, including discussions around blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and digital assets.

The panel session titled ‘Promoting Digital Finance’ saw participation from Abdulla Qassem, group CEO of ENBD Group; Eduardo Coello, regional president of Visa Latin America and Caribbean; and Erez Zaionce, executive director of The Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Qassem spoke about the UAE’s position as a global financial hub, leading the way in embracing fintech development to future-proof the country’s financial services and effectively contributing to the growth of the local economy.

Food security cooperation and a commitment to carbon neutrality and environmental sustainability are key elements that can boost UAE-Colombia trade, said Iván Duque Márquez, president of Colombia.

In a video message, the Colombian president highlighted the economic strides his country had made in recent years.

Discussing the importance of the UAE to his country, the president pointed to the growth of exports from Colombia to the UAE, saying that the furthering of free trade agreements was the essential underpinning of bilateral trade.

— issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com


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