The U.A.E.-Russian relations in general have been growing from strength to strength in recent years driven by the desire of the leadership in both countries to improve synergies and increase trade exchange, U.A.E. Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, has affirmed.
''The growing relationship between the two countries was cemented by the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Moscow in September 2013, Al Mansouri said in interview for ITAR TASS Russian News Agency.
''Economic ties are usually a reflection of political ties and indicate the level of friendship and trust between any two countries. Numbers give us an indication of how far economic relations between the UAE and Russia have grown. The total volume of trade in 2012 stood at US$1.5 billion. Non-oil trade between the two counties soared by 7.5% in 2013 and registered US$897 million. In addition to 30 agencies and 124 trademarks, we currently have eight Russian companies registered with the U.A.E. Ministry of Economy. Russian and Emirati businessmen partnered in more than 350 joint ventures in the U.A.E. and more than 40 Russian companies opened representative offices in the UAE. We expect all these numbers to continue registering sustained growth in the immediate future,'' the minister added.
On the main areas in which the two countries have identified collaborative opportunities or already ratified agreements, Al Mansouri stated that bilateral agreements play a major role in boosting economic ties. The U.A.E. has issued Federal Decree No. 91 of 2013 ratifying the cooperation agreement with Russia in the field of peaceful nuclear energy. Also in 2013, the U.A.E. issued Decree No. 67 that witnessed the inking of an agreement on the protection of investments and relevant protocol. Several other agreements, in the fields of double taxation, aviation, and coordination among the chambers of commerce have also been signed between the two countries.
Addressing major challenges to bilateral ties and means to tackle them, the U.A.E. minister said:''We don't see any challenges per se. However, there are opportunities that can be further explored. Taking advantage of these opportunities will further boost bilateral ties on economy, trade and investments.'' In reply to a question about the future of Emirati-Russian economic relations, the minister said :''There is significant potential to step up cooperation with Russia and we are working to realize this potential to the extent possible. The U.A.E. and Russia have additionally signed a ?memorandum of intention' to start a mutual investment partnership between the Abu Dhabi Finance Department and the Russian Direct Investment Fund to invest in Russian infrastructure projects. According to the terms of agreement, the Abu Dhabi Government will invest US$5 billion in Russian infrastructure projects. This is indeed a major turning point in our relations. Meanwhile, an agreement has also been signed between Mubadala Fund and the Russian Direct Investment Fund to establish a joint venture valued at US$2 billion.'' ''Russia is a major partner in supporting the U.A.E. in the use of nuclear power for peaceful purposes. There are many opportunities where Russia can help transfer knowledge including light and heavy industries, telecom, petroleum and space technology. Russia can also become partner in petrochemicals, energy - especially the clean energy domain, railways and construction projects, he remarked.
Russia, he noted, can benefit from the U.A.E.'s proven advantages of an open economy and advanced facilities and infrastructure. The U.A.E. can be a major distribution hub for Russian products to the whole world. Investors in the U.A.E. enjoy many enabling commercial benefits resulting from the country's tax free environment and ability to seamlessly transfer money. Such factors amply qualify the UAE to be a vital market for Russian investments and industries.