Dubai – MENA Herald: Dubai Exports, the export promotion agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai, lead local exporters and manufacturers to the ‘WorldFood Moscow’ exhibition for the third year in a row, enabling them to connect with the fast-growing consumer market in Russia and its adjoining areas.

The largest event for the food trade in Russia and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), WorldFood Moscow held recently, with a 52-member team comprising local exporters and manufacturers joining the UAE pavilion under the Dubai Exports umbrella.

Over the past three years, Dubai Exports has facilitated and supported an increasing number of exporters and manufacturers from varied industry sectors attend trade fairs abroad as part of achieving its strategic objective of connecting UAE firms to promising markets. The Dubai Exports overseas trade office in Moscow provides comprehensive assistance for UAE companies to penetrate the Russian market and the number of participants attending WorldFood Moscow this year along with Dubai Exports itself has seen a 45% increase.

The exhibition provided an opportunity for the local food trade to display its world-class capabilities to importers and suppliers across Russia, CIS and other markets as 1,522 firms from 62 countries and over 30,000 visitors were at WorldFood Moscow this year. A wide range of food products including grocery, frozen food, confectionary, canned food, oil, fats and sauces, dairy products, meat and drinks, poultry, fish & seafood, fruits & vegetable, tea & coffee and organic & health food were displayed at the event.

“Russia is a strategic market and along with CIS countries, it can play a major role in enabling Dubai to achieve greater economic diversification and connecting further to global trade. Dubai Exports opened its overseas office in Moscow to leverage the trade potential in these regions and the results so far point to a significant growth in the number of goods and services exported through Dubai to Russia,” remarked Mohammed Ali Al Kamali, Deputy CEO of Dubai Exports.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Russia is the 12th largest economy in the world by nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and sixth largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). In 2014, per capital GDP of Russia as estimated by the World Bank was US$12,736, the highest of all BRICS countries.

It’s vast landmass and extensive natural resources along with more than 142 million consumers and entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2012 have also created the right mix for substantial import opportunities in the Russian Federation.

Al Kamali added that the Dubai Exports office in Moscow has seen tremendous interest from exporters and manufacturers in the UAE since its opening in 2015, particularly from the food & beverage industry. “The Moscow office organised a trade mission to St Petersburg in Russia for more than 17 UAE companies from varied sectors, including food & beverage, manufacturing, cosmetics and telecommunications. The office has also assisted with more than 35 requests from both members and international buyers in the second quarter of 2016.”

Mohammed Younis, Acting Manager for International Market Development in Dubai Exports, said the demand portfolio in Russia and the export/re-export profile of Dubai present a promising picture for exporters and manufacturers in Dubai, and the UAE in general.

“Dubai exported around 14 billion dirhams worth of foods in 2015, which was about 10% of total exports. Re-exports of food products through Dubai reached around 20 billion dirhams in the same period. Top exports as well as re-exports included sugar, chocolates, dairy products, edible oils, processed flour and vegetables, and tobacco. Russia and the CIS countries imported around 151 billion dirhams (US$41 billion) worth of food products in 2015, out of which the Russian Federation alone accounted for nearly 92 billion dirhams,” Younis explained.

Edible fruits & nuts, meat, dairy products, vegetables, beverages, fish, coffee & tea, animal & vegetable fats & oils, and cocoa products were the top imports of Russia in 2015. The projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of Russian food sector for 2015-2020 is 6.9%. “Dubai is ideally placed to meet Russia’s requirements in terms of export capabilities and connectivity. The emirate can capitalise on its strategic location and excellent sea as well as air connectivity to supply both exported and re-exported food products to Russia and the CIS in a competitive and timely manner round the year,” Younis concluded.