ABU DHABI -- The UAE participated in the first discussion sessions on trade and investment between the Gulf Cooperation Council for Arab States, GCC, and the European Union, EU, which concluded on Wednesday at the headquarters of the GCC General Secretariat in Riyadh.

The country's delegation was headed by Mohammed Nasser Hamdan Al Zaabi, Director of Trade Promotion and Investment at the Ministry of Economy, and included Ahmed Al Qaizi, Director of the Economic Department at the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, as well as several businessmen and officials.

The two-day discussion between the representatives of authorities concerned with trade in Arab Gulf countries and representative of the Directorate-General for Trade of the European Commission discussed the means of strengthening their mutual trade and investment co-operation. The participants also discussed the current situation regarding their trade exchange, trading, customs and investment policies, and the framework of future co-operation in the field of external trade.

Al Zaabi noted that this discussion is part of the ongoing regular economic discussions between both sides, which have gained significant importance in light of their solid economic relations with the EU being the largest overall trade partner of GCC countries, which represent the fifth largest trade partner of the EU, with a total external trade of US$153.1 billion in 2016.

Al Zaabi added that the EU is one of the UAE's most important trade partners, with the size of their trade exchange totalling around $65.8 billion in 2016. The UAE is among the 10 largest destinations for exports from the EU, which is a home to more than 41,000 companies from its member countries and 121,000 citizens.

Additional sessions were also held about deepening co-operation on the frameworks and systems of mutual investments and the horizons of future trade co-operation, especially in food security, and for providing a knowledge-based environment to promote exports. Sessions were also held to discuss the updates of a mutual free trade agreement and the increasing role of the private sector to advance co-operation.

Source: Emirates News Agency