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KHALEEJ TIMES, Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 | Jamadi Al Thani 26, 1439

UAE-Greek business forum explores trade and investment opportunities

Emirates: The UAE is keen to intensify its cooperation with Greece in many areas and explore trade and investment opportunities at the UAE-Greek Business Forum in Dubai.

Addressing the forum, the UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said that non-oil trade between the UAE and Greece exceeded $212 million in the first nine months of 2017, marking growth of 10 per cent over the same period in 2016.

"The UAE is keen to intensify its cooperation with Greece in many areas of common interest, such as the SME sector, innovation, entrepreneurship, trade, industry, tourism, agriculture and renewable energy," the minister said.

The forum was hosted by the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the UAE Ministry of Economy and the SEV Hellenic Federation of Enterprises.

Professor Giorgos Katrougalos, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic; Humaid Ben Salem, secretary-general of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce & Industry; Majid Saif Al Ghurair, chairman of Dubai Chamber; Hamad Buamim, president and CEO of Dubai Chamber; top government officials and business leaders from the UAE and Greece attended the event.

Al Mansouri said that the forum provided an ideal opportunity to exchange ideas and explore new avenues of economic cooperation.

In his keynote address, Katrougalos expressed the Greek government's keenness to strengthen its relations with the UAE, especially in the areas of tourism and SMEs. He noted that Greece's economy returned to growth in 2017 and the country's GDP growth is expected to rise further this year.

Katrougalos disclosed the importance of boosting cooperation between UAE and Greek businesses in tourism, as the sector contributes around 37 per cent to Greece's GDP. Al Ghurair highlighted the historic and deep ties that exist between the UAE and Greece.

Referring to the opening of the UAE's embassy in Athens, the expansion of direct flights between the two countries, and the signing strategic cooperation agreements on aviation, investment protection and double taxation, he said several important steps have been taken by the two governments to boost bilateral trade and investment in recent years.

Al Ghurair disclosed that the number of Greek companies registered with Dubai Chamber has grown steadily to exceed 170 companies today, and expressed the chamber's intention to facilitate new partnerships between UAE and Greek businesses.

"We see huge potential to expand cooperation in key sectors such as energy, food and agri-business, pharmaceuticals, banking, construction and ICT," he said, adding that Greek businesses can benefit from leveraging Dubai's position as a re-export hub with strong links across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

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