Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy on Saturday, affirmed that building an economy that is based on knowledge, innovation and creativity, investment in science, technology and research is a top priority of the UAE and is in line with the federal government's ambitious Vision 2021 and its strategy for sustainable economic growth and competitiveness.
In statements to WAM, Al Mansouri explained that knowledge in a knowledge-based economy accounts for the lion's share of added value, which means that it is a key driver of production and marketing and that economic growth is proportional with the driver that is based on information and communications technology (ICT), as the information highway has transformed the world to the highly-connected global village that it is now.
The minister highlighted the fast-paced growth of ICT on which modern-day business relies heavily and which drives economic growth and helps increase the gross national products of countries.
Minister Al Mansouri also highlighted the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), saying that the Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products was concluded by 29 participants at the Singapore Ministerial Conference in December 1996. The agreement was enforced by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1997.
He noted that in March 2007, the UAE joined the ITA which provides for participants to completely eliminate duties on IT products covered by the agreement.
The minister added that in January 2009, the UAE eliminate duties on all IT products covered by this agreement. All the seven members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are parties to the ITA.
Minister Al Mansouri also noted that in 2013 the UAE's total value of trade in information technology products, covered by ITA, stood at Dh29.6 billion as follows: Dh19.8 billion in imports, around Dh393 million in exports and Dh9.6 billion in re-exports.
The UAE Cabinet, in November 2014 and in accordance with the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, approved the designation of 2015 as the Year of Innovation, as part of a plan to make the UAE a world innovative leader.
The Cabinet then directed all federal government bodies to boost cooperation and to revise their policies to develop a nurturing environment for innovation.