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Sun 27 May 2007 06:24 PM

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UAE business leaders explore Chile

Dubai's tourism department led a team representing a joint purchasing power of $1bn to bolster bilateral ties.

A delegation of UAE-based companies led by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) met with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and members of her cabinet on a recent trip to strengthen bilateral ties.

The UAE delegation represented a total joint purchasing power of $1 billion and was one of the largest to travel to Latin America from the region.

"This delegation represents the first step in the strengthening of the bilateral relation between Chile and the UAE," said Jean-Paul Tarud-Kuborn, trade commissioner of Chile in the UAE, who accompanied the delegation.

"We are confident that we have many points of interest between both countries and that we shall see greater political and economic relationship in the very near future."

Chile follows a similar strategy as Dubai in terms of positioning itself as a regional hub for trade and commerce. The South American nation boasts a GDP of more than $200 billion, driven by the export of goods including copper, wood, fresh fruit and vegetables and manufactured goods.

Chile is also famous for its export of various service-oriented skills such as civil engineering, architecture and environmental consulting.

Exports to the UAE are currently valued at $90 million per year, of which 40% is in the food sector and 30% is wood for construction purposes.

The delegation was also welcomed by the Chilean Minister of Economy, Alejandro Ferreiro and by Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alberto Van Klaveren who also opened the seminar about Dubai and the UAE at the Diplomatic Academy in Santiago.

Around 150 companies who expressed an interest in doing business with Dubai and the UAE attended the event.

The speakers at the seminar were Hamad bin Mejren, director of inward missions at DTCM and leader of the delegation, Adel Lootah, executive director of the Dubai Property Group and Jean-Paul Tarud-Kuborn, trade commissioner of Chile in the UAE.

"We have over 57 free trade agreements throughout the world with economic giants such as China, the US and the European Union. However we still need to work on such ties with the Middle East and the GCC in particular" said the Vice-Minister Van Klaveren.

He called upon the Chilean enterprises to take interest in the UAE and Dubai as a strong potential market as well as a re-export platform and hub for the entire Middle East and Central Asia for their products and services.

The delegation also included representatives from from Farzana Trading, Unifrutti Pars Company, Ducab, United Agencies, Al Ostath Trading, El Accad Group and Foodstuff.

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