Dubai – MENA Herald: A delegation from Dubai Exports, the export promotion agency of the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, recently attended the Sarajevo Business Forum held in the capital city of Bosnia, as part of its efforts to introduce exporters and products from the UAE to new markets in 16 countries across south-eastern Europe. Dubai Exports was also one of the sponsors of the Forum, which was attended by 750 representatives from different countries including 20 exporting firms from the UAE.

The delegation headed by Engineer Saed Al Awadi, CEO of Dubai Exports, held meetings with Bosnian government officials and representatives of economic and trade entities in the country to discuss bilateral co-operation and explore new opportunities for UAE exporters in Bosnia. A tripartite agreement was also signed between Dubai Exports, Bosnian Trade and Investment Development Organisation and Bosnia Bank International to support exporters expand in new markets.

The Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Commerce in Bosnia received the delegation and the two sides discussed the export potential of the participating companies in the delegation as well as ways to link Dubai and Sarajevo across diverse forums and events.

“Dubai Exports is constantly looking at identifying export opportunities and diversifying export markets for our local enterprises. Products originating from Dubai have exceptional quality and are competitive enough to be successful in export markets worldwide. Bosnia and its neighbouring markets present a vast opportunity for our exporters due to their dense population and expanding air and sea connectivity,” commented Engineer Saed Al Awadi, CEO of Dubai Exports.

Al Awadi pointed out that the trade exchange between Dubai and the Republic of Bosnia was nearly AED 89 million in 2015, an increase of 68% compared to 2014. Non-oil exports had a share of nine million dirhams and re-exports contributed AED 2.5 million in 2015 as varied products, chiefly aluminium products, chemicals, perfumes and cosmetics, foodstuffs, fabrics and textiles, were exported to Bosnia from Dubai.

Efforts led by the government to improve the business landscape in Bosnia have also yielded remarkable results and Bosnia jumped three slots, from 82 in 2015 to 79 in 2016, in the Doing Business Index. “The objective of our mission was to increase the volume of bilateral trade, and to penetrate new markets in the Balkans and neighbouring regions is estimated size of about 7 billion AED,” said Al Awadi.

The World Bank estimates markets across Europe and Central Asia to grow 3 per cent in 2016 up from 2.1 per cent in 2015, with the oil price decline slowing down. Bosnia’s neighbours in the Western Balkans are also showing signs of modest growth as economic activity shows signs of recovery in the euro area. “It’s therefore integral to the Dubai Exports strategy that we move closer to strategic international markets such as those in the Balkans and build on their expanding trade and economic relations with the Gulf region,” noted Al Awadi.

The Sarajevo Business Forum had a special session on the ‘Possibility of trade and integration with Dubai,’ where the focus was on the opportunities to source products from the emirate and the UAE in general. The exporters in the delegation also presented their experiences in diverse global markets. The Forum highlighted the export environment in Dubai and the UAE, and the policies and strategies being adopted by government agencies and entities, including Dubai Exports, to diversify the economy and reduce reliance on oil.

A report on the trade potential in Bosnia and its neighbouring markets and opportunities for improved trade exchange between these markets and the UAE was also released by Dubai Exports alongside the Forum.

A key focus of the exporter services provided by Dubai Exports is on identifying large consumer markets that can also support expansion to further markets overseas. The agency has varied programmes to enable local enterprises connect to new markets as export represents a starting point toward international expansion and ensures the contribution of local companies to the overall gross domestic product of the country.