SHARJAH, 25th September, 2016 (WAM) – The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in collaboration with the Department of Government Relations, hosted the New Zealand-UAE Business Roundtable on Sunday at the chamber’s headquarter.

The meeting sought to present investment opportunities in Sharjah to the New Zealand business community, along with boosting trade and strengthening the investment partnership between the Emirate and New Zealand, in a bid to serve the common interests of Sharjah and New Zealand.

Methods to bolster bilateral relations between the two sides in all economic areas were discussed, with the aim to advance business and investment cooperation between the Emirate and New Zealand. Attendees also discussed the possibilities of forging joint ventures to take advantage of existing opportunities in vital sectors, such as agriculture, food security and education.

The New Zealand delegation was headed by Todd McClay, Minister of Trade, accompanied by Jeremy Clarke-Watson, New Zealand Ambassador to the UAE, and comprised of an elite group of businessmen representing different sectors, including IT, tourism, education, healthcare, agriculture, food safety and many more.

In his welcoming speech, Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations, welcomed the New Zealand delegation on behalf of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

“When looking at the ways in which our two regions are similar, I spotted one clear common goal. New Zealand and Sharjah both understand the need to protect our heritage and language. It is for this reason that Sharjah is the cultural capital of the UAE. With a focus on culture, history and the arts, we welcome tourists from all over the globe who visit our museums, archaeological sites and galleries. What started with the first flights into Sharjah International Airport, has resulted in Sharjah being awarded the Cultural Capital of the Middle East in 1998 and Capital of Arab Tourism in 2015”, Sheikh Fahim said.

“I will be visiting New Zealand in December, and while it will be a personal trip, I look forward to learning more about ways in which we can collaborate”, he added.

In his speech, Todd McClay, Minister of Trade, stressed the keenness of the New Zealand government to develop bilateral relations with the UAE, particularly the Emirate of Sharjah, in different business and investment sectors, because of the geographical location and economic progress in the Emirate.

McClay stated that the value of New Zealand exports to the GCC countries amounted to over $1.23 billion.

The meeting was attended by Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations, Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), Walid Bukhatir, Second Vice-Chairman of the SCCI, Khalid bin Butti Al Hajri, Director General of the SCCI, Marwan Al Sarkal, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and a number of SCCI’s board members and representatives of the business communities in New Zealand and Sharjah.

WAM/Hazem/Majok