UAE: Dubai Chamber Explores Dutch Investment Opportunities
H.E. Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, urged Dutch companies to take advantage of Dubai’s position as a leading business hub and gateway to growing Middle Eastern, Asian and African markets, during a Country Focus Briefing event at the organisation’s head office.
His Excellency highlighted the cooperation between Dubai and Dutch business communities in major sectors like trade, transport and logistics, and encouraged businesses to explore new opportunities in renewable energy and agro-processing to boost economic growth.
Speaking at the Country Focus Briefing: The Netherlands event, organised by Dubai Chamber in partnership with the Dutch Consulate in Dubai, His Excellency said lucrative investment opportunities for Dutch investors existed in Dubai in renewable energy, innovative technologies, green products and services, and the rail sector. Meanwhile, Dubai traders can increase their import and export flows with the Netherlands to help make the two countries stronger trade partners.
“Since 2006 imports and exports between Dubai and the Netherlands have been increasing, only slightly interrupted by the global financial crisis in 2009. Between January and June this year non-oil trade reached Dhs3.3bn, of which imports totalled Dhs2.27bn and exports and re-exports valued Dhs1.03bn. However, I would like to see this strengthen significantly in order to help drive growth in Dubai’s economy,” His Excellency said.
“New profitable opportunities exist in the trade sector which should be explored. There is room to bring new products to Dubai’s market and to re-export them within the region with considerable success and we need to work with our Dutch partners to help drive this new future growth,” H.E. Al Ghurair said.
“Dubai offers Dutch investors a number of opportunities for expansion. The city is an idea base for access to certain key markets in Asia and Africa, while domestically there are prospects in areas where Dutch companies are leading, such as renewable energy and green technologies,” he said.
H.E. Gerard Michels, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, said: “There are about 270 Dutch related enterprises based in the UAE, ranging from large multinationals like household names Shell, Unilever, Philips, through to worldwide dredging companies Boskalis and Van Oord, and petrochemical tie-ins such as Ten Cate as well as a host of small and medium sized enterprises.
“At the same time we are working hard to attract Emirati investors to the Netherlands. DP World is investing in the latest Rotterdam port expansion, TAQA develops a huge gas storage project, and Emirates airlines which has offices in Amsterdam,” Mr. Michels said.
Mr. Bernard Wientjes, President of the Conference of Netherlands Industry & Employers, said: “The Netherlands and Dubai have proven to be very ambitious nations. Dutch businesses are strongly positioned to link up with the challenges Dubai is facing. Standing out worldwide in a number of sectors, like water, agro-food, logistics, energy and professional services to headquarters, the Netherlands is the pre-eminent partner of choice to fulfil Dubai’s growth ambitions,” Mr. Wientjes said.
Mr. Bas Pulles, Commissioner of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, said: “Holland still offers a strategic and stable business climate for companies from the Middle East who aim for market share in Europe. With its main ports and logistics infrastructure, its international business environment, a strong drive for innovation and sustainability and a highly educated, multilingual and flexible workforce, Holland is your triple A location in Europe”.
A recent study by Dubai Chamber found that the Dutch economy is highly advanced and the country is considered to be one of Europe’s most dynamic centres for trade and industry. Barriers to market entry are very low and the transparent legal framework and sophisticated financial services system make the Dutch market an attractive place for companies looking for overseas investment opportunities.
One characteristic of the Dutch economy is that it combines both high per capita income with fairly even distribution of wealth. Structurally, it is dominated by the services sector, which represents about 72% of total gross domestic product (GDP), according to data from 2005 to 2010. Meanwhile, the industrial sector represents about 25% and agriculture about 2.8% of GDP. Despite the agriculture sector’s small share of the Dutch economy, this is above the European Union average. Based on EIU reports, the Netherlands is a leading exporter of dairy products, meat, flowers and bulbs. Around 60% of total agricultural production is exported.
Almost a third of Dutch private sector turnover is generated by foreign controlled enterprises, which indicates the importance of inward foreign direct investment (FDI) for the Dutch economy. According to the analysis, in 2010 the Netherlands ranked in sixth position among global recipients of FDI. The main investors are countries in the euro zone, the United States and the United Kingdom. Investments of emerging countries, such as China, remain relatively small.
Similarly, Dutch enterprises have substantial investments abroad. For example, in the 2009 UN World Investment Report six Dutch companies were listed in the top 100 of non-financial Trans National Companies, including Shell, Philips Electronics, and AkzoNobel.
Dutch economic growth has always been driven by international trade in goods and services. The country’s geographic location and ongoing European economic integration has made it a major player in global trade. In 2009, the Netherlands was the seventh largest importer in the world, accounting for approximately 3.5% of world merchandise trade. The same year, the Netherlands accounted for about 4% of world exports, a share which has remained stable throughout the past four decades. As a result, the Netherlands ranks as the fifth largest exporter globally.
Last year, UAE imports from the Netherlands witnessed a remarkable recovery, registering 136% to reach about $3.1bn, compared to 2009. Major imports include machinery, boilers, electrical goods and electronic equipment as well as mineral fuels, oils and distillation products. At the same time, the value of UAE total exports to the Netherlands increased to $1.0bn in 2010, up from $205.9m in 2009. Major exports included mineral fuels, oils, distillation products, aluminium products and organic chemicals.
Source: ameinfo, October 24, 2011