NEW DELHI, 22nd November, 2016 (WAM)–The UAE participated in the two-day long,13th edition of SME World Summit, the biggest entrepreneurship conference, which kicked off in New Delhi on Tuesday, in the presence of more than 1, 000 participants representing over 20 countries.

The UAE took part in the summit’s opening session as a partner in a panel discussion on key partnership opportunities in small and medium-sized enterprise sector in the UAE.

The UAE delegation is headed by Abdullah Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs and Industry. It also includes a group of representatives of federal and local government agencies and more than 25 entrepreneurs and owners of small and medium enterprises. Dr. Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Banna, the UAE Ambassador to the Republic of India was also present.

In his speech at the inaugural session, Al Saleh stressed the strong historic relations between the UAE and India on all economic and cultural levels. “India is the major UAE’s trade partner. The UAE is ranked the third foreign trade partner to India. India’s investments in the UAE stood at US$6 billion making it the third largest foreign investor in the UAE, while the UAE investments in India, ranked the country the 10th largest foreign investor in India and the top at the regional level.”

He explained that the indicators reflect the strength of ties between the two countries as the Indian community is the largest in the UAE, exceeding 2.5 million Indians living and working in the UAE with volume of remittances of Indian community annually estimated at $12 billion.

 Al Saleh said that the UAE is keen on strengthening the economic and trade ties with India, which is the seventh largest economy in the world to ensure the continuation of upgrading bilateral economic ties to advanced levels. He referred to the existence of many leading UAE companies operating in the domestic markets in India, most notably DP World, Emaar, TAQA Energy Company and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

Al Saleh said the most prominent sectors of joint investments between the two countries focus on the construction, energy and mineral industries, information technology and service sector areas.

He noted that this summit provides an ideal platform for the exchange of information and opportunities about potential for strengthening partnerships in the priority sectors of both parties in next stage, focusing on the opportunities for small and medium enterprises.

The UAE official added that the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries has grown steadily as record non-oil trade volume between the two countries, including the free zones, stood at US$34.2 billion by the end of 2015 and more than $17 billion during the first half of 2016.

He said that last year was a fruitful period in the relations between the two countries that culminated with the signing of several agreements which cover vital sectors including security information , investment in infrastructure, renewable energy as well as cooperation agreements in the field of insurance and culture during the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces to the Republic of India in February, 2016