Top officials during the meeting in Dubai.The Ministry of Finance (MoF) signed an agreement to encourage and protect investments between the UAE and the Hong Kong Government, as part of the ministry’s efforts to protect the nation’s investments abroad and to attract foreign investments. The agreement was signed by Younis Al Khoori, Under-Secretary of MoF and Dr Bernard Chan, Hong Kong’s Under-Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, in the presence of officials from both sides. Commenting on the agreement, Al Khoori highlighted the importance of investment protection and promotion agreements given their pivotal role in attracting foreign investments and enhancing the UAE’s competitiveness levels. These agreements are also in line with the country’s national development goals, and will help in diversifying Gross National Income, GNI, sources, as well as bolstering the UAE’s investments abroad. He said, “The signing of the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement between the UAE and Hong Kong creates a conducive investment environment that provides guaranteed growth, expansion and protection of investments. Additionally, this agreement will strengthen the investment partnership between the two countries, and will encourage government, semi-government and private sectors to forge mutually beneficial relationships.” The UAE has close ties with Hong Kong and is party to several international agreements with the latter, including the agreement on the avoidance of double taxation signed in December 2014. The Ministry continuously seeks to strengthen the UAE’s international relations to achieve sustainable economic development in the country. The UAE is Hong Kong’s largest economic partner in the Middle East and the 18th biggest in the world. The UAE’s exports to Hong Kong reached $4.3 billion in 2018, compared to $3.9 billion in 2014, while the UAE’s imports from Hong Kong stood at $6 billion between 2014-2018. Jewellery accounted for 28.1 per cent of the UAE’s exports to Hong Kong, while pearls and precious stones accounted for 33 per cent of imports. A high-level joint business and professional mission from China and Hong Kong have congregated in Dubai for a two-day business programme that focused on cooperation and investment opportunities in the UAE. The mission, co-organised by the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, HKSAR, and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, comprised some 70 investors and services professionals from the Mainland China and Hong Kong. Delegates include those with an interest and expertise in the areas of finance, consultancy, architecture, energy, civil engineering and construction, legal and accounting, transportation and logistics, and various other sectors. The mission’s official programme started with the signing of an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, IPPA, between the UAE and Hong Kong, marking a milestone of economic cooperation between the two countries. Led by Sun Tong, Director-General, Department of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs, Ministry of Commerce of China, the delegation met with senior officials from the UAE Ministry of Economy, the Department of Economic Development of the Government of Dubai and the Dubai Investment Development Agency to learn more the latest development and opportunities in the country. The delegates also visited the Jebel Ali Free Zone and the site of Expo 2020 Dubai and met with various local companies to explore the potential for cooperation. Stephen Liang, Assistant Executive Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, which is a supporting organisation of the mission, highlighted Hong Kong’s role as the bridge connecting Mainland China with the rest of the world, including the Middle East, with about 60 per cent of the Mainland’s outbound investments going to or through Hong Kong. “Hong Kong is a provider of quality services to underpin Belt and Road-related developments. These include the financing of infrastructure and construction projects, and the provision of a range of professional services including due diligence, accounting and insurance, project management, risk management, and dispute resolution,” Liang said. The HKTDC set up its regional office in Dubai in 2000 to promote Hong Kong’s business relations in the UAE and the broader Middle East region and provide more structured services to the business community. The HKTDC’s international trade fairs, conferences and other business events throughout the year support hundreds of companies from Dubai and the UAE in growing their businesses in the Asian and world markets. Robust trade links between Hong Kong and the UAE have been in place for many years, with the city exporting goods worth more than $6 billion to the emirates in 2018. WAM
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