UAE-Russia relations have been growing: Al Mansouri

Moscow can benefit from UAE’s advantages of an open economy

By (Wam)

Published: Fri 23 May 2014, 10:19 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:35 PM

The UAE-Russia relations in general have been growing from strength to strength in recent years driven by the desire of the leadership in both countries to improve synergies and increase trade exchange, UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, has affirmed.

“The growing relationship between the two countries was cemented by the visit of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Moscow in September 2013,” Al Mansouri said in interview for ITAR TASS.

“Economic ties are usually a reflection of political ties and indicate the level of friendship and trust between any two countries. Numbers give us an indication of how far economic relations between the UAE and Russia have grown. The total volume of trade in 2012 stood at $1.5 billion.

“Non-oil trade between the two counties soared by 7.5 per cent in 2013 and registered $897 million. In addition to 30 agencies and 124 trademarks, we currently have eight Russian companies registered with the UAE Ministry of Economy. Russian and Emirati businessmen partnered in more than 350 joint ventures in the UAE and more than 40 Russian companies opened representative offices in the UAE. We expect all these numbers to continue registering sustained growth in the immediate future,” the minister added.

On the main areas in which the two countries have identified collaborative opportunities or already ratified agreements, Al Mansouri stated that bilateral agreements play a major role in boosting economic ties. The UAE has issued Federal Decree No 91 of 2013 ratifying the cooperation agreement with Russia in the field of peaceful nuclear energy.

Also in 2013, the UAE issued Decree No 67 that witnessed the inking of an agreement on the protection of investments and relevant protocol. Several other agreements in the fields of double taxation, aviation, and coordination among the chambers of commerce have also been signed between the two countries.

Addressing major challenges to bilateral ties and means to tackle them, the UAE minister said: “We don’t see any challenges per se. However, there are opportunities that can be further explored. Taking advantage of these opportunities will further boost bilateral ties on economy, trade and investments.”

In reply to a question about the future of Emirati–Russian economic relations, the minister said : “There is significant potential to step up cooperation with Russia and we are working to realise this potential to the extent possible. The UAE and Russia have additionally signed a ‘memorandum of intention’ to start a mutual investment partnership between the Abu Dhabi Finance Department and the Russian Direct Investment Fund to invest in Russian infrastructure projects.

“According to the terms of agreement, the Abu Dhabi Government will invest $5 billion in Russian infrastructure projects. This is indeed a major turning point in our relations. Meanwhile, an agreement has also been signed between Mubadala Fund and the Russian Direct Investment Fund to establish a joint venture valued at $2 billion.”

“Russia is a major partner in supporting the UAE in the use of nuclear power for peaceful purposes. There are many opportunities where Russia can help transfer knowledge including light and heavy industries, telecom, petroleum and space technology. Russia can also become partner in petrochemicals, energy — especially the clean energy domain, railways and construction projects, he remarked.

Russia, he noted, can benefit from the UAE’s proven advantages of an open economy and advanced facilities and infrastructure. The UAE can be a major distribution hub for Russian products to the whole world. Investors in the UAE enjoy many enabling commercial benefits resulting from the country’s tax free environment and ability to seamlessly transfer money. Such factors amply qualify the UAE to be a vital market for Russian investments and industries.

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