Tue 23-08-2022 18:20 PM
By Binsal Abdulkader
ABU DHABI, 23rd August, 2022 (WAM) -- The Spain-UAE bilateral trade is bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels with Spanish exports to the UAE is projected to grow eight percent this year, a top Spanish diplomat told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
"Forecasts on bilateral trade are very promising. We expect an exports growth [from Spain] this year of more than 8 percent compared to last year. Imports from the UAE to Spain are also growing and the first quarter of 2022 already witnessed a 32 percent rise compared to the same period last year," said Iñigo de Palacio España, the Spanish Ambassador to the UAE.
The bilateral trade worth €1.81 billion (US$1.79 billion) in 2020 rose 39.23 percent to €2.52 billion (US$2.50 billion) in 2021, he revealed in an exclusive interview with WAM at the Spanish Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
More than 2600 Spanish companies export regularly to the UAE and Spanish exports to the UAE in 2021 amounted to €1.71 billion (US$1.7 billion), a 13.24 percent increase compared to €1.51 billion (US$1.5 billion) exports in 2020, the envoy added.
The imports from the UAE to Spain in 2021 were pegged at €812.68 million (US$807.67 million), a 167.55 percent increase compared to €303.75 million (US$301.64 million) imports in 2020, he said.
The UAE’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Spain has reached over €6 billion (US$5.96 billion) and Spanish FDI in the UAE is valued at around €3 billion (US$2.98 billion), he noted.
Expanding business to defence, aerospace, railway etc.
"We can build on the strong presence of Spanish companies here and a long-standing record of projects and investments both ways. Among others, I see various fields for growth," España said.
Spain already has a reputation for being efficient in civil works and services, including engineering, energy, water, hospitality etc., the ambassador pointed out. "Besides these sectors, I want to focus on the development of our relations with the UAE in the defence and aerospace industry, railway, energy and climate transition, including in the field of green hydrogen, and food and agroindustry."
The Spanish Business Council in the UAE is one of the most vibrant such organisations in the world, he said. The council represents more than 120 Spanish companies out of more than 250 companies permanently present in the UAE.
Mentioning the investment opportunities in Spain in energy and utilities, agriculture, services, and start-ups etc., the envoy said Spain has traditionally found a fertile terrain in energy, renewables, and water management. "I may recall that up to five different Spanish companies have participated in all the different phases of the Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. Spanish companies have also been crucial in the development of the water management sector in the UAE."
Agreements, platforms to boost business
Spain and the UAE have agreed on the text of an Agreement on the Protection and Promotion of Investments, the diplomat revealed. The Agreement to Avoid Double Taxation is already in force, which is very convenient for UAE nationals and companies, he noted.
"We look forward to holding the next round of the Joint Economic Committee in Madrid soon. We are now preparing the agenda with our interlocutors in the UAE Ministry of Economy, always helpful and forthcoming," the ambassador said.