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The U.A.E. and France Are Increasing their Economic Ties

The U.A.E. and France Are Increasing their Economic Ties

After Dubai-based Emirates Company signed last week at the Paris Air Show a $12.5-billion order for an additional 21 Airbus A-380s and 18 A340-600, a high-level economic forum was organized at the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris on June 25, 2003. Guest of honor was the United Arab Emirates State Minister for Finance and Industry, His Excellency Mohamed Khalfan Ben Khorbash. The topic was: The economic situation and the opportunities to invest in the UAE. The conference was co-sponsored by the MEDEF (Mouvement des Entreprises de France), the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Franco-Arabic Chamber of Commerce. Photos: (Ó) European-Security. After the conference, His Excellency Mohamed Khalfan Ben Khorbash granted an interview to Joël-François Dumont from French TV3 Corporation. Paris, June 25, 2003.

His Excellency Mohamed Khalfan Ben Khorbash during his speech

Joël-François Dumont: How would you define, your Excellency, the existing connection between your country the United Arab Emirates on the one hand and France on the other ?

Mohamed Khalfan Ben Khorbash: The U.A.E. and France have excellent political relations. That relationship is of excellent shape, but that is not the end of the road.

We are looking forward to an increase of our relationship. I mentioned earlier that France signed the double-taxation treaty with the UAE and that was the first double-taxation treaty the UAE signed with an other country.

We find also investment and promotion, and we find other treaties, including the treaty of cooperation.

"We are looking forward to an increase of our relationship"

There has been a tremendous cooperation in trade and joint-ventures. The number of French companies is very sizable. France is becoming a major trading partner with the UAE. France is becoming number 4 or 5. We are looking for new opportunities of joint ventures.

Joël-François Dumont: Friendship is one thing, trade and business an other one. Our countries are doing business together and succeed doing so, but I believe there is something more like a strategic partnership between our two countries. How would you comment on that Sir ?

Mohamed Khalfan Ben Khorbash: I am talking about business now. I am talking of the vision of the two countries to establish a common ground for the private sector and the government sector to do better business and increase our co-operation and that’s why, when I said signing the double taxation agreement, signing the investment protection and promotion, signing the economic cooperation agreement, doing joint ventures is doing business. And that has already happened.

Joël-François Dumont: Your country is certainly one of the few countries in the Arabic World where much is done to promote quality tourism, with very good conditions. Many people are therefore going to the Emirates now. You also have a wonderful airport in Dubaï, among the most modern in the World, that will be the first able to welcome the new Airbuses Superjumbos ordered by Emirates at the Paris Air Show last week. Your Excellency, what are the real reasons for such a choice? And now, considering the French businessmen, what would you expect them to do when they come in your country and invest. What else would you suggest them ?

Mohamed Khalfan Ben Khorbash: I think the initial way is to come and explore for themselves, to see the opportunities there. As I said, there are two major things happening now:

  • a Custom Unit between the CGC countries and, certainly,
  • the UAE could be the gateway to the region and to the CGC countries.

That would give immense opportunities for investment and for joint ventures.

Joël-François Dumont: Thank you very much for this interview. 

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).