Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, said the UAE will continue to pursue economic strategies, characterised by openness and principles of free market economy, since it believes that economic openness makes the national economy more competitive.
During his closing speech at the meetings of the UAE's Trade Policy Review at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), headquarters in Geneva, Al Mansouri expressed his pride at the UAE's economic policy, which was widely praised by the members of the WTO Trade Policy Review and also through interventions of the WTO Member States. The UAE had taken into account all the comments received regarding the sectors that need more attention, he stressed.
He expressed his appreciation at most of the interventions made by the member states participating in the meetings of the Trade Policy Review, who commended the smooth flow of trade exchanges between UAE and their countries, which reflected the success of the country's trade policies and its eagerness to pursue a free and effective trading system with its commitment for a multilateral trading system.
Al Mansouri reviewed the benefits and submitted guarantees for foreign investments, as well as the presence of more than 30 free trade zones within the country that allows 100 percent ownership, in addition to many other incentives, while citing that more than 40,000 companies operated in such free trade zones across the Emirates in various.
Al Mansouri reviewed the UAE's policy in government procurement that falls within the multilateral WTO agreements for their impact on the competition in markets.
He explained that the UAE had given priority of 10 percent of government procurement to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and about 5 percent to the domestic market and companies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) within the framework of country's policies toward strengthening the participation of the national private sector.
Irene B. K. Young, representative of (Hong Kong, China) and the current Chairperson of the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB) of the WTO, said that the UAE had finished the third review of the trade policy in advance simultaneously with the 20th anniversary of its accession to the World Trade Organisation.
"This review is very interesting due to the trade and investment development in the UAE's policies and because more than 39 delegates from countries around the world paid tribute on the first day of the review, to the UAE s success in continuing its policy of diversifying its economy, which helped it overcome a financial crisis that began in 2008, and then during the phase of falling oil prices that began in 2014," she added.
She explained that, although the oil and gas sector and related industries are considered important elements of the UAE economy, the UAE has achieved growth in many other non-oil sectors such as construction, retail and wholesale markets, and tourism and manufacturing industries, as it works to achieve its vision 2021 based on innovation and the transition to a knowledge-based economy, which will contribute to the process of sustainable growth and further reduce dependence on oil.
She pointed out that member states have expressed their appreciation for numerous aspects of the UAE's trade policy, including its commitment to the terms of reduced customs tariff and the application of a common external tariff with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
She noted that all member states have welcomed the UAE s decision of depositing its instrument of acceptance with the WTO Secretariat on 18 April on a Trade Facilitating Agreement, calling it the first Arab country to do so.
Young concluded her speech by thanking the UAE for providing all the required data and responding to all inquiries made by the member states before and during the process of the review.