UAE and Russia companies sign deals at industrial conference

UAE and Russian Companies Sign Major Agreements on Industrial Investments; Free-Trade Agreement in the Works

UAE and Russia Forge New Industrial Ties at Innoprom Exhibition

The UAE and Russia made significant strides in industrial cooperation by signing several agreements and preliminary pacts during the Innoprom global industrial exhibition, which took place on Tuesday in Yekaterinburg, Russia. This exhibition, known for its focus on industrial development and innovation, provided a platform for both nations to strengthen their economic and industrial ties. The UAE’s involvement was particularly noteworthy as it marked the first time an Arab nation partnered with Innoprom. The delegation from the UAE was led by Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, who serves as the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and is also the managing director and group chief executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).

The UAE’s participation at the four-day event was a strategic move aimed at deepening bilateral relations between the two countries. The focus was on exploring and enhancing investment opportunities, industrial and commercial prospects, knowledge sharing, and fostering cooperation in the industrial sector. The UAE’s Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology took this opportunity to investigate ways to improve supply chains across several key areas including agricultural technology, manufacturing, medicine, and mobility. Additionally, there was a concerted effort to leverage advanced technology to streamline operations in vital and emerging industries, thus contributing to greater efficiency and innovation.

At the exhibition, the UAE proudly showcased over 2,000 locally manufactured products as part of its “Make it in the Emirates” initiative. This initiative is designed to support the development and sustainability of local businesses by highlighting the UAE’s industrial capabilities and promoting domestic production. The industrial sector plays a crucial role in the UAE’s economy, being the second-largest contributor to the non-oil gross domestic product (GDP) after retail. Last year, this sector added approximately Dh197 billion ($53.64 billion) to the UAE’s GDP. The UAE also reported a 17 percent increase in industrial exports and a 7 percent growth in productivity since the initiative’s launch, with total industrial exports reaching Dh187 billion.

In terms of UAE-Russia relations, Russia has expressed a strong interest in finalizing a free-trade agreement with the UAE, which is expected to enhance conditions for mutual trade. Russian Industry and Trade Minister Anton Alikhanov indicated that the removal of excessive trade barriers is anticipated in the near future, with hopes of concluding a preferential trade agreement within the coming months. Discussions on this topic are set to be held by Russia’s Minister of the Eurasian Economic Commission, Andrey Slepnev, with UAE officials during the exhibition in Yekaterinburg.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has highlighted the UAE as a leading investor and trade partner among Middle Eastern countries, a sentiment echoed during discussions with President Sheikh Mohamed in December of the previous year. The UAE’s investment in Russia’s non-oil sector experienced a dramatic increase of 103 percent from 2022 to 2023, while overall trade between the two nations grew by 67.7 percent during the same period. Last year, the total trade volume between the UAE and Russia reached $11.4 billion. UAE imports from Russia amounted to $6.64 billion, with the primary imports being pearls, stones, and mineral products. Conversely, the UAE’s exports to Russia totaled $289.65 million, focusing on vegetable products, food and beverages, and wood pulp. The UAE also saw re-exports, which are imported goods that underwent further processing or manufacturing, reach $4.42 billion, including machinery, minerals, and textile products.

Furthermore, the UAE is in the process of concluding a free-trade zone agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union countries, which include Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia. Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, indicated in February that initial agreements could be finalized in the coming months. This agreement is expected to further enhance trade relations between the UAE and the Eurasian Economic Union.

The UAE and Russia also collaborate in various global organizations, including the expanded alliance of oil-producing countries (Opec+) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The latter recently held a two-day annual summit in Kazakhstan. Additionally, in January, the UAE officially became a member of the Brics group, an intergovernmental organization that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Brics aims to foster greater economic coordination among its member countries, which together represent more than 42 percent of the global population and account for a third of the world’s economic output, according to the International Monetary Fund. This membership further solidifies the UAE’s commitment to participating in significant global economic and political alliances.

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