Dubai and France are exploring new opportunities to boost economic and commercial ties as trade between the two hit $2.31 billion in the first half of 2021.
Senior officials from the UAE and the European country held an online meeting to look at areas of co-operation as their economies recover from the coronavirus-induced slowdown, the Dubai Media Office said on Thursday.
Dubai’s external trade is gathering pace thanks to its agility in handling the pandemic, said Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World group chairman and chief executive and chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.
“We can see tourism and exhibition activity going back to normal in the emirate, with Expo 2020 around the corner,” Mr bin Sulayem, said. “Dubai has largely managed to mitigate the economic repercussions from the spread of the pandemic.”
Dubai’s non-oil private sector recorded the quickest growth in business activity for nearly two years in August, driven by output growth among travel and tourism and construction companies, according to a new survey.
Dubai’s seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Purchasing Manager’s Index surged to 53.3 in August, up from 53.2 in July indicating expansion in the non-oil private sector. A reading above 50 indicates economic expansion while one below points to a contraction.
Dubai’s non-oil external trade grew 10 per cent annually in the first quarter of 2021 to Dh354.4bn, while customs transactions rose 53.4 per cent to Dh11.2 million in the first half of this year despite pandemic-related challenges, according to Dubai Customs.
Total trade between Dubai and France touched Dh8.5bn in the first half of 2021. Jewellery, perfumes, medical products, textiles and leather were the top commodities of trade.
“The UAE has demonstrated exceptional capabilities in managing the Covid-19 crisis, proving its competence in adapting to changes and overcoming challenges,” said Xavier Chatel, ambassador of France to the UAE. “The UAE is our preferred choice for investment and trade.”
France and the UAE have strong trade and investment ties. Earlier this year, Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company and France’s national investment bank Bpifrance signed an agreement to launch a new co-investment partnership focused on African private equity.
As part of the deal, the 2 companies will deploy up to $416 million through fund and direct investments in private equity and venture capital, with a focus on high-growth African start-ups, small and medium enterprises and mid-market companies.
Mubadala also invested in a French healthcare technology company through its €400m venture capital fund last year. It is also supporting French national investment bank Bpifrance’s LAC 1 fund.