Netherlands and United Arab Emirates step up economic cooperation

The Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have set up a joint committee to further strengthen economic cooperation. On Tuesday, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Tom de Bruijn and UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani Al Zeyoudi signed an agreement to that effect at the Netherlands Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. The joint economic committee, to be led by the two ministers, will meet every two years, together with representatives of businesses, knowledge institutions and the public sector from each country.

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Minister Tom de Bruijn and minister Thani Al Zeyoudi

Many business opportunities

The UAE is the largest export destination for Dutch goods in the Gulf region. There are also over 350 Dutch companies with offices there, most of which are active in the water, energy, food and infrastructure sectors. ‘Our government is ready to support Dutch businesses in taking advantage of economic opportunities in the UAE,’ De Bruijn commented. ‘In the country and in the wider Gulf region, there’s strong demand for sustainable solutions to water shortages, the energy transition and food scarcity. These are some of the areas in which the Netherlands excels most. Our economic partnership with the UAE is already strong; with the formation of this committee we’re taking an extra step in positioning Dutch companies and knowledge institutions in the country. For example, by discussing ways to attract mutual investment in our economies.’

Business community welcomes agreement

The Dutch business community underscores the importance of the agreement for economic relations with the UAE. Ingrid Thijssen, president of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW), said, ‘The Netherlands and the UAE have a long-standing trade relationship. Indeed, the UAE is the Netherlands’s largest trading partner in the region. This is why it’s important for us to further expand and deepen our economic ties. With that in mind, the Dutch business community welcomes this new agreement. With its unique expertise in the areas of water, energy and food, the Netherlands can play a crucial role in resolving a number of issues currently facing the UAE. But the impact is greater than this. By working together, companies from the two countries can also help to address some of today’s most pressing global issues.’

EXPO and trade mission

Minister De Bruijn will be in Dubai on Tuesday and Wednesday. He will accompany King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima on their visit to Expo 2020 Dubai, the first world expo to be held in the Middle East. At the same time, the minister will lead a trade mission to the Expo and the UAE, together with Ingrid Thijssen, the business mission leader. Fifty companies from the Netherlands are taking part in the mission. They are active in a variety of sectors: water, sustainably energy, food, urban planning and logistics.

The trade mission focuses on sustainable urban development. The King will open the Netherlands Pavilion on 3 November, the Netherlands’ national day.