The Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), HE Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, yesterday presided over the Sharjah Day session in Milan, Italy.
Organised by Shurooq, the session took place on the sidelines of the fifth Economic Commission between the UAE and Italy. Sharjah Day aimed at introducing a number of Italian businesses and entrepreneurs to available opportunities in the emirate.
Sheikha Bodour emphasised that the UAE and Italy have excellent relations and a flourishing trade and cultural partnership, and that Italy is one of the UAE’s top trade partners in the European Union. She added that efforts to explore more avenues of cooperation between the two countries would help enhance their longstanding relationship.
She said: “Sharjah is an ideal business and investment hub in the Middle East due to its exceptional cultural and economic ingredients, unique strategic and geographical location, investor-friendly legal framework, diverse economy and its excellent international reputation. The emirate has transformed into one of the top investment destinations in the region thanks to the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and the efforts of government entities and authorities in the provision of the favourable economic climate.”
Sheikha Bodour added: “We at Shurooq are striving to use the best international practices and launch innovative projects that will help meet the requirements of international investors, attract foreign investment, achieve the ideal economic climate and expand the emirate’s investment base. These will be positively reflected on the economy and will contribute to boost Sharjah’s and the UAE’s position on the business map.”
The Sharjah Day session was attended by senior UAE officials including HE Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, HE Noura Mohamed Juma, Consul General of the UAE in Milan, HRH Prince Serge De Jugoslavie Savoi, HE Ambassador Dr Philip Reeker, Consul General of the United States of America in Milan and HE Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in addition to the Ministry of Economy’s official delegation and a number of figures from the UAE.
HE Eng. Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of Economic Affairs, the UAE Ministry of Economy, participated in Sharjah Day as a guest speaker at the session alongside a number of representatives of federal and local government entities, including HE Marwan Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq; HE Saud Al Mazrouei, Director of the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone Authority and Hamriyah Free Zone; Khaled bin Butti bin Obaid, Assistant Director-General for membership and branches; Saud Meqdad Salem Al Suwaidi, Director of International Relations and Partnerships at Shurooq; and Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, Head of Investment Promotion at Shurooq.
HE Eng. Mohammed Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Economy, said: “For a long time the UAE and Italy have worked together constructively on many mutually beneficial areas. This partnership has its foundations in our strong bilateral trade relationship, with balance of trade volume between the two countries reaching €7.37 billion in 2014, placing Italy as the 14th largest partner in foreign trade. In addition, there are currently over 8,000 Italian companies, dealerships and trademarks registered with the UAE Ministry of Economy.”
The event also included a welcome address by CAV Mario Boselli, Honorary President of the Italian Chamber of Fashion and Honorary President of the Arab Fashion Council Dubai. He praised the positive relations between the two countries and the facilities offered by the UAE to the Italian business sectors.
HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal gave the attendees an overview of the business environment in Sharjah, highlighting the various benefits, amenities and opportunities the emirate has to offer. He also discussed avenues of cooperation and joint works with the aim to increase Italian investment in Sharjah. He expressed his appreciation of the meeting’s success, which is Shurooq’s largest meeting ever in Italy in terms of participating delegations and attendees.
HE Saud Al Mazrouei gave a presentation about the services offered by Sharjah Airport International Free Zone and Hamriyah Free Zone to investors, highlighting the privileges given to companies in Sharjah’s free zones. He added: “We have at the Sharjah Free Zones offers that exceed the expectations of investors. We have come to Milan to present our high-rate facilities to various investors and representatives from Italian business sectors who attended this meeting.”
“Sharjah Free Zones offer various services and facilities to investors such as the single window service, a multitude of facilities, and a strategic location that encourages and attracts investors from all over the world.”
The Sharjah Day programme also included a panel discussion that featured three Italian success stories in Sharjah. The panelists each shared with the attendees the reason why they themselves chose Sharjah, gave an overview of their personal experiences, and how they became successful in their respective sectors. The panel concluded with a Q&A about the facilities and services offered by Sharjah to Italian investors.
Eng. Peter Paolo Rambion, a panelist in the panel discussion, expressed his appreciation of the rewarding investment opportunities offered in Sharjah. He said: “The emirate presents as an ideal location for Italian companies and investors looking to expand into the Middle East. The emirate’s strategic location, advanced logistics network and investor-friendly regulatory environment, coupled with the region’s high growth potential, offer a compelling investment opportunity.”
The Sharjah Day session was attended by over 150 investors and businessmen representing a wide range of Italian companies operating in various sectors, such as construction, fashion industry, food & beverages, as well as High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) and entrepreneurs.
On the sidelines of Sharjah Days, Sheikha Bodour and the accompanying delegation visited Expo Milano 2015. She was received by HE Salem Saeed Al Ameri, Commissioner-General of the UAE Pavilion at Expo Milano, who accompanied the visiting delegation on a tour to the pavilion. Sheikha Bodour was briefed on the pavilion’s sections and activities, and was impressed with the various promotional services offered about the UAE, which introduce the country’s landmarks and achievements in different domains. She highly valued the role of the exhibition as a platform for meeting and networking by different countries around the world.