ABU DHABI, 18th January, 2017 (WAM) — Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, and Gustavo Leite, Paraguay’s Minister of Industry and Commerce, discussed the promotion of trade and economic ties through joint investments in areas of mutual interest.

The two ministers met in Dubai, in the presence of Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs, and Angel Barchini, Non-resident Ambassador of Paraguay, and several other officials.

The two sides discussed ways to develop co-operation, especially in the sectors of agriculture, nutritional products, energy and industry.

The two sides also reviewed investment opportunities in infrastructure, tourism and aviation sectors, stressing the importance of strengthening co-operation in the field of air transport.

“Paraguay is an important gateway for the UAE in South America,” Minister Al Mansouri noted.

The non-oil trade exchange between the two countries accounted for US$30 million in 2015 and $18 million in the first half of 2016.

Leite affirmed his country had targeted investments in three main sectors in which it possessed competitive advantage, such as agriculture and nutritional products, research and exploration for oil and gas, and the industrial sector. Paraguay would like to benefit from the experience of the UAE in these fields, he added.

Paraguay is set to be the new industrial hub of South America, as it possesses several competitive factors such as energy, qualified labour, he remarked, adding that it was willing to resolve all impediments to facilitate the UAE’s entry into the country’s markets.

Promoting co-operation in the field of air transport is important, as it will directly link both the countries, he stated, also mentioning several investment opportunities in the tourism and infrastructure sector for the UAE.

Paraguay grows key crops such as corn, rice, wheat and soya bean, and has a wealth of cattle and poultry, he said, expressing hopes of enhanced bilateral trade in these sectors, especially the food industry.