UAE opposes protectionism, says keen to boost foreign investment

Comments follow US announcement of tariffs on $50-60bn worth of imports from China
By Staff writer
Tue 03 Apr 2018 01:50 PM

The UAE does not believe in protectionism, and is committed to liberalisation in order to boost foreign direct investment (FDI), according to Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs at the UAE Ministry of Economy.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Annual Investment Meeting taking place in Dubai next week, he said protectionism is not in favour of a growing economy, and does not promote sustainable growth, Gulf News reported.

His comments are in line with the UAE’s aim to loosen legislations in order to improve foreign ownership in certain sectors.

“As a UAE policy, we do not believe protectionism is good for growth in any economy. The UAE is always supportive in any negotiations for more liberalisation on the global system,” he said.

“An open economy is the best policy for attracting investments, for increasing and creating competitiveness, and it’s better for future development plans. So, we don’t believe that protectionism will bring much better prosperity for the economy,” Al Saleh added, listing competition and collaboration between countries as better tools for economic growth.

As for the Annual Investment Meeting, it will discuss the roles of digitisation, blockchain and the fourth industrial revolution in attracting FDI in sectors such as energy, manufacturing, tourism, finance, real estate and infrastructure.

The focus on FDI comes amid growing protectionism in developed markets such as the US, which announced in March tariffs on $50-$60 billion worth of imports from China.

The UAE welcomes investment from any part of the world, Al Saleh said, adding that the country witnessed an 8.5 per cent year-on-year increase in FDI in 2016, with investment values reaching $9 billion.

In 2017, FDI inflows into the UAE reached $10.3 billion, according to figures from the UAE Competitiveness and Statistics Authority.

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