Brussels, Belgium , 27 April, 2023 :
HE Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, has led a delegation of senior officials and business leaders to Brussels, Belgium with the aim of strengthening economic ties and promoting investment opportunities with Belgium and the wider European Union (EU).
During the visit, HE Al Zeyoudi held a bilateral meeting with Vladis Dombrovskis, European Commissioner of Trade, where he discussed growing trade relations with the EU in addition to sharing updates on preparations for the World Trade Organisation’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) which will be held in Abu Dhabi in 2024.
While in Belgium, HE Dr Thani also held talks with HE Pierre-Yves Dermagne, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Employment, and Hadja Lahbib, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, in which they outlined opportunities for further joint economic cooperation in priority sectors.
HE Al Zeyoudi noted that the visit marks an important continuation of longstanding trade relations shared with the EU: “The EU is one of the UAE’s largest trading partners with whom we have recorded strong growth over recent years. We see great importance in strengthening our economic ties with the EU especially in high potential sectors such as digital trade, e-commerce, and innovation where we are actively working to promote collaboration.
“Our meetings reinforce the UAE’s belief that by working together, we can create a mutually prosperous future for our businesses and citizens, and I look forward to ongoing engagement with the EU moving forward,” he added.
Non-oil bilateral trade between the UAE and EU amounted to US$56 billion in 2022, achieving growth of 9.3 percent compared to the same period in 2021. Non-oil trade value grew by 28.6 percent and 14.7 percent over the same period in 2020 and 2019, respectively. Additionally, the UAE today stands as Belgium’s leading trade partner in the Middle East, accounting for 21 percent of Belgium trade with Arab countries in 2022.
The UAE delegation also took part in a technical workshop held in Brussels that explored the scope of the EUs proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). The workshop provided critical details on compliance, data requirements and the implementation timeline of the CBAM.
During the visit, HE Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi was joined by HE Mohammed Al Sahlawi, UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and HE Juma Mohammed Al Kait, Assistant Under-Secretary at the UAE Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs. The UAE delegation included HE Eng. Saif Ghubash, Assistant Undersecretary for Petroleum, Gas & Mineral Resources Sector at the Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure; Eng. Amal Al Ali, Director of Petroleum and Gas Affairs Department at the Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure; Mr. Abdulla Alduhoori, Economics Research Assistant at the Ministry of Economy; Mr. Bharat Bhatia, CEO of Conares; Mr. Claus Basse, Senior Manager of International and Government Affairs at Emirates Airline; Dr. Majeed Bishara, Manager of Cargo Operation Engineering at Emirates Airline; Ms. Maryam Bin Fares, Senior Manager of Treasury Dealing at Etihad; Ms. Fatma Hokal, National Added Value Programs Auditor at the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology in addition to representatives from Emirates Global Aluminium and Emirates Steel Arkan.