A grand view of the Dubai Chamber’s building in Dubai.
Staff Reporter, Gulf Today
Dubai International Chamber, one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers, has arrived at Kazakhstan, the second destination in the New Horizons Trade Mission to Central Asia.
The event brought Dubai-based companies to discuss exporting and investing in the Kazakh market while engaging in a business forum and a series of high-level meetings with senior government officials, business leaders and eminent investors.
The large delegation comprising 24 Dubai-headquartered companies representing 16 economic sectors attended the business forum in Astana, opened by Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President & CEO of Dubai Chambers.
The forum was attended by over 200 government officials and representatives from Kazakh companies interested in collaborating with Dubai-based companies.
Across a period of two days, more than 180 B2B meetings were facilitated in Astana and Almaty between Dubai-based companies participating in the mission and their counterparts from Kazakhstan.New Horizons is an initiative spearheaded by Dubai International Chamber to drive the international expansion of Dubai businesses into new select markets while promoting Dubai as a thriving global investment hub for companies from those markets.
It builds on the chamber’s ‘In Focus’ scheme, which brings public and private sector leaders of select countries to Dubai to connect with Dubai businesses and drive their interest in those markets as potential destinations for global business expansion. Both initiatives aim to assist in driving members’ international expansion while supporting Dubai’s plan to increase the emirate’s foreign trade to Dhs2 trillion by 2026.
One of the Chamber’s key objectives is to support 100 businesses to expand globally within the next two years.Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers said: “Our growing trade with Kazakhstan emphasises the importance we must put on building stronger bilateral trade with nations in Central Asia. Kazakhstan is a key strategic trading partner to Dubai and the UAE. In 2022, our members’ exports and re-exports to Kazakhstan reached AED192 million, a relatively low figure given the great potential for bilateral trade expansion.
Further evidence to this exciting potential is a significant 82 percent growth in the number of Kazakh companies that joined Dubai Chamber of Commerce, from 351 in 2016 to 637 in 2022, as well as an increase of total Dubai exporters to Kazakhstan to 119 in the same year, a figure we would like to see grow. Our mission aims at increasing bilateral trade and Dubai exports to Kazakhstan.”
Sharing similar sentiments, Ardak Zebeshev, Chairman of the Investment Committee, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Republic of Kazakhstan, echoed, “Our joint work does not stop there. Since 2011, the UAE has invested approximately $2 billion in Kazakhstan. Presently, the trade between Kazakhstan and the UAE is actively developing and amounted to $632.6 million at the end of 2022. Of this, imports from the UAE amounted to $72.3 million.I express my gratitude to the Dubai International Chamber team for organizing this wonderful event that will undoubtedly benefit both our nations. I am confident that not only will it benefit our already strong, friendly and long-standing relationship, but it will also contribute to the prosperity of the people in both countries.
”In addition to a discussion involving several officials and experts from Kazakhstan’s customs, logistics and the banking sector, the business forum also saw a presentation on the investment opportunities in Kazakhstan by Azamat Kozhanov, Managing Director of Kazakh Invest. Part of the trade mission programme included a visit to Astana International Financial Centre and site visits to the headquarters of several companies in Kazakhstan.
Key partners supporting the business forum include the UAE Embassy in Kazakhstan, QazTrade, Kazakh Invest and the Chamber of International Commerce of Kazakhstan.Companies participating in the trade mission represent several economic sectors and activities including building materials, e-commerce, environmental and electrical fields, fashion and clothing, free zones, home and hotel furniture, hospitality, medical equipment and supplies, perfumes, soaps and cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, financial assets, retail, security printing, ocean freight and logistics as well as FMCG.There is a high global demand for rare earth metals due to the growing imports of electric cars and solar panels.
Kazakhstan is rich with mineral products and Dubai has high demand for these metals. This can create an investment opportunity for Dubai’s metal manufacturing companies (e.g., copper, silver, zinc, gold) to produce semi-manufactured or final metal products in Kazakhstan.Other opportunities in Kazakhstan include agriculture and tourism. The country has 210 million hectares of arable land which creates large investment opportunities for UAE food companies.