ABU DHABI, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, and Suren Karayan, Minister of Economic Development and Investments of Armenia, have discussed ways to further expand economic and trade relations between the two countries.

The discussion took place at a meeting held in Dubai recently, in the presence of Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdulaziz Al-Shehhi, Under-Secretary for Economic Affairs at the ministry; Abdullah Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade and Industry; and Jamal Al Jarwan, Secretary-General of UAE International Investors Council.

The meeting focused on the progress of the bilateral relations between the two countries and in finding ways to boost trade and tourism exchanges as well as areas of economic and investments cooperation particularly in agriculture and food industries, manufacturing, tourism, renewable energy, mining, and information technology. The meeting also tackled the coordination activities for the UAE-Armenian Business Forum which will be held in March 2017 in Abu Dhabi.

The meeting follows the recent visit of Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan to the UAE, which has resulted in the signing of several agreements and MoUs between the two countries and established a keen push to the bilateral relations between the two nations, specifically economic collaborations in the tourism sector.

Al Mansoori noted the strengthening of the bilateral ties between the UAE and the Republic of Armenia, which has witnessed remarkable developments through joint initiatives to build bridges of communication and cooperation and take advantage of the opportunities presented by both countries.

He added that investment in agriculture and food industry is a top priority for the UAE as it imports about 85 percent of its food, endorsing the sector as a key area for mutual cooperation with Armenia. "The UAE looks to tap Armenia's rich agricultural resources and capabilities which in turn could benefit from the expertise of UAE companies while serving the UAE's food security requirements," he said.

The Minister explained that the volume of foreign trade between the two countries is still below target levels as the non-oil trade volume between the UAE and Armenia reached only to about USD 100 million at the end of 2015, adding that there is a need to enhance the joint action to achieve its goals by taking advantage of the economic possibilities and capabilities of both nations.

Karayan noted the investment options and opportunities in Armenia, citing 32 active projects in the areas of agriculture and tourism under the Armenian development plan in the coming years. He further commented on the country's efforts to establish investment partnerships with UAE companies in these sectors, which have shown the productivity and international reputation to conduct business.

The Armenian minister discussed expansion plans through the construction of additional nuclear power plant and more wind farms that could further enhance areas of cooperation with the UAE, which has been investing heavily in renewable energy.

Source: Emirates News Agency