By Daniel Shane
Economic Minister Al Mansoori talks up UAE investment during trade mission
Relations between the UAE and Canada appear to be warming amid a visit of the Gulf state’s Economy Minister to the North American country.
On a trade mission, Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri Al Mansoori talked up the economic potential of the UAE to Canadian investors, official Emirates news agency WAM reported.
At a meeting organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Montreal, Al Mansoori stressed the historic trade relations that have existed between the two countries over the last 36 years, emphasising the fact the UAE is Canada’s largest export market in MENA and its 19 largest in the world.
Al Mansoori also pointed to the UAE’s efforts on economic diversification, highlighting the investment potential of sectors including aviation, tourism, retail, healthcare, financial services and energy.
The visit is the latest example of a thaw in the occasionally frosty relationship between the two nations.
Last week, 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".
Relations between the oil-rich UAE and Canada deteriorated rapidly after 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.
"[The] UAE is a main hub for trade in our region when it comes to the Gulf, the subcontinent, central Asia, east Africa... So I think having more trade between the UAE and Canada, and using the UAE as a hub, is beneficial for both countries," the paper quoted him as saying.
Relations began to thaw after Canada struck a deal last year to set up a new staging base in nearby Kuwait, and Baird visited the UAE last November.
About time......keep it going. I know that life is rough for many nationalities in terms of visas etc...but I hope that we can stay out of the penalty area for awhile.
Warm corrigible talks, it was a long over due at this level politically speaking. The exception is low level bureaucrats will take over the negotiating and work to forge agreements in trade, investments, and perhaps access to Canadian Resources and hopefully review regulatory matters as they pertain to Visas .The matter of additional landing privileges for Emirates/Etihad airlines in currently not on the immediate agenda. Resuming our previously close relations is a priority for us and no surprise to our American Cousins.