ABU DHABI, There are more than 650 French companies operating in the UAE, and over 7000 French firms exporting to the Emirates, according to the French Ambassador to the UAE Ludovic Pouille, who believes his country's ties with the UAE have gone beyond the business model to become a strategic partnership.

The ambassador made the remarks on the sidelines of the foundation stone-laying ceremony of Saint-Gobain's First Multi Comfort House in the Middle East in the presence of Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, and Pierre-Andre de Chalendar, Chairman and CEO of Saint-Gobain.

"It's another great day for France-UAE's partnership. As (French) President Emmanuel Macron said during his visit here recently, UAE is a great partner," the ambassador added, expressing his pride to see Masdar and Saint-Gobain having such a "significant partnership."

The ambassador cited the recent visits by the French President and the Prime Minister to the UAE as a testament to the growing relations between the two countries.

"Those visits have had a strong dynamic dimension which adds strength to the bilateral ties. It is not only about business; but rather we are learning from each other," said the ambassador, citing the presence of time-honoured institutions like Sorbonne Abu Dhabi and the Louvre as a sign of the "people-to-people dialogue between the two countries."

"The Multi Comfort House is the first of its kind in the region and the project is a step forward on the path for attracting more French companies to have a strong foothold in the UAE, the ambassador commented on Saint-Gobain's project in Masdar.

For his part, Pierre-Andre de Chalendar - Chairman and CEO of Saint-Gobain Group, told WAM that the French company's sales in the UAE amount to around US$150 million, noting that manufacturing accounts for a significant part of these sales.

"UAE provides an investment-friendly environment that encourages us to further grow our partnership here. We have a long story with the Middle East Region and here in the Emirates we are further expanding this partnership. We have a manufacturing unit in Abu Dhabi and I'm pretty sure we will sustain this relation as urbanisation is growing in the country and this requires more of Saint-Gobain's material, especially in terms of sustainability-related stuff," he said.

Source: Emirates News Agency