The 26th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum came to an end. This year, SPIEF has once again confirmed its status as the country's main business event. In four days, the event was attended by 17,000 participants from 130 countries, more than 900 agreements were signed for a total amount of almost 4 trillion rubles. One of the main highlights of the forum was the participation of a representative delegation of the United Arab Emirates, a guest country of SPIEF, and the meeting of the presidents of Russia and the UAE on the sidelines of the forum. This once again emphasized the partnership nature of relations between the states and impetus for further expansion of trade and economic cooperation.
The official delegation of the United Arab Emirates to SPIEF-2023 became one of the most representative. It brought together more than 200 participants – ministers, heads of agencies, financial institutions, free zones, private companies, and universities of the UAE. A wide range of issues related to trade, economic, investment and technical cooperation between the two countries was discussed in the course of the intensive business program, which also included a panel session held by Business Russia.
We have collected the main theses made during the SPIEF-2023 panel sessions on Russian-Emirati cooperation*
2022 marked several records in Russian-Emirati relations.
The trade turnover between the two countries has been steadily growing for several years. In 2022, it reached a record high of $9 billion (an increase by 68%). Export volume from Russia to the UAE grew by 71%, to $ 8.5 billion, import volume — by 6%, to $ 500 million. The UAE is also the first among the Arab states in terms of the volume of Russian investments, accounting for more than 42% of accumulated direct investments from Russia in the region. The UAE is also the leader among Arab countries in terms of investments in the Russian economy (44%). Accumulated direct investments affect such areas as trade, real estate, manufacturing, scientific, technical and agricultural spheres. Read more.
The export flow from Russia to the UAE is significantly higher than the import flow in the trade in goods, while in the trade in services it tends to parity.
By early 2023, the UAE had risen from 41st to 8th place on the list of Russian export markets. The rapid intensification of trade flows demands cutting-edge solutions to infrastructure and trade regulation issues, in particular, to ones related to simplifying customs procedures and market access, optimizing logistics and mutual settlements. Further deepening of trade and economic integration of Russia and the UAE requires a balance of interests of both sides. Amid current outweighing of the export flow from Russia, it becomes relevant to expand imports from the UAE, including imports of services. Read more.
Initially, joint activities of the countries covered traditional areas, but at the present stage they are increasingly spreading to promising high-tech spheres.
Russia and the UAE are already implementing advanced projects in the field of astronautics, medicine, agriculture, energy and IT. These projects involve not only the largest Russian companies, but also many scientific, educational and medical institutions. Medium-sized businesses are also widely represented. Read more.
UAE free zones provide a business-friendly space for the localization of Russian companies.
In the context of sanctions pressure, the role of the UAE in Russia's foreign economic activity has surged — the country has become one of the major trade and business hubs, since the robust infrastructure and global ties of the UAE provide access to key international markets. There are more than 50 different free economic zones (FEZ) in the country, which are designated areas that offer certain legal and economic preferences for foreign businesses. To date, about 4,000 Russian companies have been registered in the UAE and have accumulated successful business experience in such areas as energy, exploration, education, and others. Read more.
The further development of bilateral relations depends on how existing strengths will be availed and how weaknesses will be leveled.
Russia and the UAE are united by more than 50 years of fruitful cooperation built on mutual respect and interest in mutual growth in all spheres. The political leadership of both countries plans to pursue the development of relations and bring them to a qualitatively new level. The main drivers of the development of bilateral cooperation between the countries are:
- Expanded bilateral social and political relations.
- Active growth of trade turnover, investment and business activity.
- Scientific and technological competencies in mutually complementary areas possessed by both countries.
At the same time, it is necessary to make efforts to overcome a number of barriers that hinder the evolution of relations:
- Lack of a bilateral system of settlements in national currency.
- Inadequate information support and promotion of bilateral business cooperation.
- Lack of well-established mechanisms of academic and scientific mobility. Read more.
For reference: the 26th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum was held from June 14 to June 17 in St. Petersburg. The theme of SPIEF-2023 is "Sovereign Development as the Basis of a Just World: Joining Forces for Future Generations". The guest country of SPIEF-2023 was the United Arab Emirates. The business program of the forum was unprecedentedly intensive. Over 4 days, the forum witnessed 200 events covering a wide range of economic and international cooperation issues. More than 1,500 moderators and speakers, Russian and foreign experts delivered their reports.
*Based on the materials provided by https://roscongress.org/
Photos: RIA Novosti photohost agency