The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry plans to open an office in Mexico this year as it works to ramp up trade ties between Dubai and Latin America, Dubai Chamber chairman Majid Al Ghurair said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the Global Business Forum - Latin America, Al Ghurair said that Dubai Chamber will open its fourth Latin America office in Mexico “later this year”.
The Mexico office will be in addition to existing Dubai Chamber offices in Brazil, Panama and Argentina, the most recent one to open.
Speaking to Arabian Business on the sidelines of the event, Dubai Chamber’s director of international offices, Omar Abdelaziz Khan, said Dubai’s drive to establish deeper economic ties with Latin America forms part of a larger strategy to look towards markets with “manageable risks” such as Africa and Latin America.
“We’re living in a very interesting region and sometimes its unpredictable ... if the market is unpredictable, you can’t sit and wait for the business to come back,” he said, citing a economic slowdown in Iraq as an example. “You have to go hunting for opportunities and in emerging markets.”
Latin America, he said, presents a “good formula of risk, reward and also ways we can compensate by being on the ground...to facilitate our traders and encourage them to come out of the comfort zone of Dubai”.
Khan added that the region requires “the most engagement” of all regions in which Dubai Chamber operates, because of the distance and general lack of pre-existing historic ties such as those Dubai has had with Africa or Asia.
According to a report launched by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Dubai Chamber, the countries of the GCC imported $10.9 billion worth of products from Latin America and the Caribbean in 2018, compared to exported products valued at $5.4 billion.
Of the total, the UAE accounted for 27% of exports from the GCC to Latin America as well as 46 percent of imports, making it the largest growth market for Latin American businesses.
Brazil, Argentina and Mexico collectively accounted for 76 percent of the trade between the two regions, with Brazil’s trade amounting to $9.1 billion, compared to Argentina’s $2 billion and Mexico’s $1.3 billion.
Given these relatively small numbers, Khan said that Dubai Chamber believes the region has ample opportunity for Dubai’s businesses to expand in the region.
“A lot of people assume that [Dubai Chamber’s] offices are there to attract FDI to Dubai....that’s secondary,” he said. “The offices are there to encourage our businesses to go out. Many have grown to a size that they are now quite big and they need to spread their wings.”
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