x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

UAE strategic to food production plans, says France

French trade commissioner says cheeses, meat products and juice may be produced in the UAE to lower import costs.

DUBAI // French food companies will soon be making cheese and other dairy products, meat and juice in the UAE, if talks with prospective partners here are successful.

The development was revealed today by French trade commissioner Francois Sporrer, though he said he could not name the firms involved at this stage.

The move would slash the cost of French brands sold here, because the current need to import items by air pushes up prices greatly.

"We'll see more and more companies coming here because you have to be close to the markets, especially when you deal with fresh products," he added. "The Emirates are a major platform for trade with neighbouring countries, including more distant ones such as India, Egypt and maybe East Africa."

The French spice company Gyma has already set up a plant at Dubai Investment Park, and some of the products made there are shipped to France.

Mr Sporrer was one of the guests at an event promoting the giant Gulfood exhibition, which takes place in Dubai next week.

He said it would not be possible for French companies to make speciality products such as Camembert in the UAE, but added: "You could produce a fair quality cheese here, why not?"