UAE, Spain hold talks on boosting economic cooperation

DUBAI: The UAE’s minister of state for foreign trade recently met with his Spanish governmental counterparts to discuss ways to boost economic cooperation between the two countries and diversify into sectors of common interest, Emirates News Agency reported.

During Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi’s talks with Xiana Mendez, Spain’s secretary of state for trade, at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, both parties agreed to promote investment exchanges in entrepreneurship, tourism, innovation, technology, food security, real estate, logistics, mining, transformative industries, and renewable energy.

The minister noted the historical ties that bound Spain and the UAE together and pointed out that both nations were keen to strengthen working relations regarding their respective economic development visions.

Al-Zeyoudi said: “The bilateral trade figures demonstrate the rapid growth of the UAE-Spain economic relations. Our non-oil trade exchanges exceeded $2.6 billion in 2022. The UAE’s non-oil exports to Spain totalled $360 million last year while re-exports amounted to $181 million.

“We are keen to strengthen our economic and trade partnership with Spain. Spain became the UAE’s third-biggest European partner in 2022 as it received 8 percent of the UAE’s total non-oil exports to EU countries.

“In addition, the Spanish market is a key global market that enjoys special attention from the UAE’s business community. The UAE’s total investments in Spain reached approximately $3.8 billion by the end of 2021, while Spanish foreign direct investment in the UAE totalled $72 million by the end 2020,” he added.

Mendez and Al-Zeyoudi discussed ways to help businesses access opportunities in both markets and the UAE minister highlighted his country’s efforts to transition to a sustainable knowledge economy based on innovation.

Legislative changes in the UAE include the granting of full foreign ownership, improved intellectual property protection, and the launch of an ambitious strategy to attract talented and creative individuals to all sectors, bolstering the nation’s position as a creative and innovative hub.

Al-Zeyoudi added that the UAE market provided opportunities and incentives that could help Spanish companies grow in the UAE and wider Middle East and North Africa region.

And he invited the Spanish private sector to take advantage of the benefits and incentives available in the UAE to promote economic cooperation.