Opportunities this spring bloom for UAE and its partners
It is springtime, the season of new blooms. Behind every bloom, however, there is a winter of silent activity, unseen and unsung.
Every growth story, likewise, is a bloom in spring backed by months and years of hard work that involves several stakeholders, all of them working towards a common goal. It is their unflagging efforts that come to fruition, yielding tangible results.
For decades, trade has been the backbone of the Gulf economy. Hundreds of years ago, adventurous Arabs battled the vagaries of the ocean to discover new markets that in turn contributed to the evolution of the world's trade routes, which continue to flourish today. Over time, the trade dynamics shifted, as did the fortunes of nations.
Today, the global economic order is witnessing another era of regeneration, having experienced unprecedented challenges. No doubt, there are prevailing concerns that call for immediate attention with respect to global trade, but what is extremely encouraging is how countries with forward-looking policies have demonstrated resilience to the crises.
The UAE is a sterling example of how visionary policies backed by concrete action can help nations make their mark, and continue to offer a positive growth environment.
One of the strengths of the UAE is its strategic location at the crossroads of the East and the West. The nation also serves as the gateway to some of the world's most promising frontier and emerging markets, which are the markets of the future.
Countries in South Asia and Africa, as well as the closer markets across the Middle East region, with more than 300 million people, are offered direct trade access through the UAE.
It is estimated that nearly one third of the world's population is at a flying distance of just four hours or less from the UAE, making it a strategic hub for any business looking to expand beyond its existing frontiers.
But offering a geographic advantage is only part of the story. The UAE, over the years, has invested in its economy to develop a world-class infrastructure that covers all sectors. Be it advanced ports and airports, or well-knit roads or advanced telecommunications connectivity, the UAE offers a seamless infrastructure network that contributes to business efficiencies.
Furthermore the tax-free environment, the free zones, single-window approaches to setting up business, and access to a skilled and cost-competitive workforce make the UAE a destination of choice for investments, especially in leveraging the fullest trade potential.
The UAE is putting the spotlight on its diverse strengths at the Hannover Messe, one of the world's most important industrial and technology events, this month. A high-level delegation, comprising some of the nation's champions from the private and public sectors, is taking part in the event, highlighting their strengths, competencies and how they can partner with their German counterparts.
The opportunities for Emirati and German businesses are tremendous. For German businesses, ventures based in and from the UAE will open doors to new markets that will drive their long-term growth.
This, however, is the time to look beyond our accomplishments and blaze a new trail. That is what the UAE delegation seeks to accomplish through the Hannover Messe. Business dynamics the world over are changing. Trade patterns are shifting. What was once considered a traditional export-import model is giving way to closer collaborations, where joint ventures and partnerships are becoming the norm.
At the same time, there are new growth sectors that are at work with a focus on environmental sustainability. Renewable energy, digital applications, environmental technology - these are all sectors in which the UAE and Germany can share their competencies and skills - especially with an emphasis on small and medium enterprises.
This will give a new shift to the trade equation, where conventional trade models are redefined in line with modern-day requirements. This spring, new opportunities are blooming for both UAE and German businesses. Let us nurture them to deliver a rich harvest that benefits all stakeholders.
* Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi is the UAE Minister of Foreign Trade
Updated: April 23, 2012 04:00 AM