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Thu 13 Sep 2012 05:17 PM

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SME deal sees thaw in UAE-Canada relations

Agreements indicate that relations between the countries have improved after a diplomatic spat

SME deal sees thaw in UAE-Canada relations

The UAE's Ministry of Economy has signed two agreements with Canadian organisations to promote partnerships between small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in both countries, a sign of easing of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

UAE Ministry and Canada's MaRS Discovery District of Toronto, Ontario, and Sustainable Development Technology - Canada (SDTC) signed separate memorandums of understanding (MoU) to establish strategic partnerships, the WAM news agency reported.

The agreements will help to formalise the exchange of information between SMEs in both countries and explore opportunities for collaboration in the public and private sectors, the report added.

"The Ministry of Economy is keen to facilitate innovation in the SME sector considering that it is the highest job provider in the UAE. In this effort, the Ministry has been able to achieve fruitful global partnerships, paving the way for sharing of information and expertise.

The MoUs with MaRS and SDTC will enable exchange of information on SME sector, including legislation, by-laws, policies, and government-sponsored incentives and programmes through institutions or jointly with the private sector. More importantly, these agreements will open doors for our young entrepreneurs to engage in the private sector and take the lead in all economic activities," said Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy.

MaRS will share its expertise on a number of key areas such as Industry, Agriculture and environment, Energy and renewable energy, Information and Communications Technology, Healthcare, Education, Financial services and Mining.

The MoU with MaRS will look at opportunities for trade relations, while the linkup with SDTC focuses on the agriculture and forestry, energy, industry and manufacturing, petrochemicals, water, transportation and mining sectors.

The agreements indicate that relations between the countries have improved after a diplomatic spat last year when Canada’s transport agency refused to give Gulf carriers Etihad and Emirates new landing rights.

The Gulf state retaliated with the closure of Camp Mirage, a secret military base located outside Dubai and used to supply Canadian troops in Afghanistan. Al Nahyan, in Ottawa for a bilateral meeting with Baird, hinted the UAE was still interested in acquiring more landing rights in Canada.

Earlier this year, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said relations were "going in the right direction" after talks with his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan during which a nuclear co-operation deal between the two countries was agreed.

Baird said in comments published by the Toronto Sun: "Canada and the UAE have had some challenging times in the past, many people said the relationship was going in the wrong direction," adding relations were now "better than they've been and they're going in the right direction".

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SUNDARAM 8 years ago

Hope this will lead us back to good old times and that Canadians will not require a visa to travel to the UAE.

Sam from Canada 8 years ago

One can only conclude a "thaw" has taken place when Canadians can enter UAE Visa-free as before. However, I would only support this if reciprocity is maintained and UAE Citizens can also visit Canada visa-free.

Else, lets stick to the current visa-required for each policy.

NTO 8 years ago

Reciprocity is not required for visa restriction to be lifted.
Visa restrictions on UAE nationals to other visa free countries (ie, US, UK) apply.
Canada is the exception not the rule and it only hurts UAE by making it more difficult to attract investors.

Rashid Altayer 8 years ago

Boo hoo. It also hurts canadians by placing visa restrictions on UAE investors. Reciprocity works both ways... Landing rights first... Then Visas :)

procan 8 years ago

Again I agree with Sam on this issue.

Sam from Canada 8 years ago

Lets all accept that this is NOT about reciprocity, but about landing rights. Its hypocritical for Canada to preach free and open markets and then deny landing rights to ANY airline at all. So, even as a Canadian, I support the UAE and am glad they took a stance to let us know that we (Harper, the idiot, to be more precise) annoyed them.

As far as reciprocity is concerned, the UAE can not afford to be reciprocal with the US, UK, Europe. If it did, Emirates & Etihad would loose big time. As a major tourist destination, it would serve it ideally well if it was visa-free to all. But, if theyallowed everyone in, then half the Indian subcontinent, and a lot of Africa - would end up there looking for greener pastures; and the locals would dwindle down to an infinitesimal fraction of the total population. So slapping visas on Canadians was the only "retaliation" they could do to vent their anger after Ottawa refused to even meet the UAE Ambassador for months. Dumb Harper!

Samir Younes 8 years ago

Canada will need to allow more landing rights to both Emirates and Etihad airlines/airways.

Montreal and Ottawa have no direct flights from Dubai or Abu Dhabi so Canadian authorities should consider allowing Emirates Airline to fly to Montreal at least 3 times a week and Etihad to fly to Ottawa 3 times a week and then gradually allow an increase of the flights depending on traffic and improvements in economic exchanges between the two countries.

Canada should also take into consideration that the direct flights from the UAE will increase the volume of travel from the Gulf region to Canada and vise versa and not only between the two countries.

Dubai is increasingly becoming an important business hub for the Middle East and many European, American, and Asian companies are setting up branch offices in Dubai in order to expand their business not only in the UAE but across the whole region and as far as Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dubai is also an important tourist destination.....


Mick 8 years ago

Yeah, get it over with. I'm done with the vengeance against Canadians thing. It was more enjoyable when we were on the sidelines watching everyone else getting angry at everyone else.
If we don't provide a necessary direct option to Mtl or T.O. then why not allow EK or EY fill in the gaps? I would still fly every airline except etihad and emirates back home to Canada for my annual vacation based on price, alone, even if it means connecting in Paris, Frankfurt, London or Amsterdam where I can actually stretch my legs and get some clean air for a couple of hours. I flew KLM for an enjoyable flight home at almost half the price as the two UAE national airlines.

procan 8 years ago

Is it not clear by now with all the endless dialogue on the subject Canada wants less not more contact contact with the middle east. We are on a road to collision with the middle east evidence of this is our special relationship with our Israelis-partners nuff said there. Having Middle Eastern Airlines having access to our homeland is not what Canadian Government wants . Please just send your cash we will sell you some grain a little technology lets play nice, but say on your turf as we shall ours. Surly a small insignificant player county like Canada will not hold up the grand plans of the GCC .

procan 8 years ago

Sundaram the visa is a good thing as it turns out. Good old times you talk about, died with Perrier Trudeau and the Liberal Party my friend. There is a new Sheiff in town my friend ,The Conservitive Party of Canada