‘Dubai Economy Talks’ brings focus on changing trade and investment patterns and their implications for Dubai

Dubai – MENA Herald: The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai, in partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD), hosted the ‘Dubai Economy Talks 2-2016,’ today, bringing together leading international experts to highlight the current trends shaping global trade as well as investment flows, and their implications for Dubai and the UAE.

The second in an annual series initiated by DED, the Dubai Economy Talks 2-2016 follows on the assertion by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, that: “In today’s global and highly competitive environment our government is in a continuous need for new tools, fresh thinking and creativity.”

Dubai Economy Talks sought to update business leaders on the relationship between two key drivers of growth and productivity: global value chains and international as well as regional trade and investment agreements. The one-day form, held at the Armani Hotel Dubai marked the 20th anniversary of the UAE joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and also provided an opportunity for business representatives to exchange ideas with regional and global experts on leveraging international trade treaties and policies for stronger returns.

In his welcome speech, His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of DED, explained that international trade today is increasingly structured around global value chains, involving a mix of trade in intermediates, movement of capital and ideas, and demand for services to co-ordinate the dispersed production and distribution of goods and services.

“In a global value chain, firms buy inputs and investment goods or services that contribute to the production process. This trade pattern account for three quarters of global trade today. As such, global value chains are becoming increasingly influential in determining future trade and FDI patterns, as well as growth opportunities.”

Al Qamzi said that Dubai has emerged to occupy a critical node in regional and global value chains owing to its location, and investments in building a world-class infrastructure and an efficient regulatory regime, adding that further improvements are required to deepen and widen participation in global value chains (GVCs)

“Dubai’s retail and distribution sector, for example, comprises today an impressive array of 70 malls and caters to a domestic market of more than four million residents and 15 million visitors annually. In addition, Dubai’s imports, exports and re-export activities reach an estimated market of three billion people. Thus, retail and wholesale trade is now the leading sector in Dubai with a 29% contribution to the emirate’s GDP in 2015 – equivalent to about 107 billion dirhams – and we expect this to rise to 140 billion dirhams in 2021 backed by the Dubai Strategic Plan, as well as the World Expo 2020,” Al Qamzi stated.
Al Qamzi added that Dubai also plays a critical role in business, financial, professional, telecommunications and transport services. Looking ahead the emirate is seeking to deepen and widen its participation in GVCs and has recently adopted a new Dubai Industrial Strategy that aims to transform Dubai into an international hub for knowledge-based, innovative and sustainable industrial activities, extending across sectors such as aerospace, maritime, pharmaceuticals & medical equipment, aluminum & fabricated metals, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), and machinery & equipment.
The Dubai Economy Talks 2-2016 heard Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Raed Safadi, Chief Economic Adviser at DED, Professor Patrick Low, former Chief Economist at WTO, and Marios Maratheftis, Chief Economist at Standard Chartered Bank, explaining the critical factors shaping the international trade and investment landscape. The speakers highlighted the policy agenda for Dubai and the UAE in taking fuller advantage of emerging trends and promoting a knowledge-based, innovative and sustainable economy in line with the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

“The open, transparent and credible trade and investment policies pursued by the UAE have paved the way for businesses to connect to the opportunities presented by international markets. At the same time, our competitiveness agenda has been increasingly influenced by our understanding of how GVCs operate and how investors select their investment destination,” Al Qamzi remarked.

“Continued success in diversification and achieving the UAE Vision 2021 as well as the Dubai Plan 2021 require a thorough understanding of the factors influencing trade and investment. The Dubai Economy Talks 2-2016 provided an opportunity for businesses and policymakers to engage leading international experts, and distill best practices from around the world in formulating a policy and business agenda for further integration into global trade and investment,” concluded Al Qamzi.