UAE faces a challenging 2011, despite economic recovery: minister

08:05, November 29, 2010      

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United Arab Emirates (UAE) Economy Minister Sultan Bin Saeed Al-Mansouri said economic recovery is still very challenging, despite citing numbers suggesting the emirates' economy has picked up at a press conference on Saturday.

The UAE has been growing between three to 3.5 percent in 2010 after the 1.3 percent in 2009, the UAE minister said, noting "in 2008, we established a government committee to tackle the impact of the global financial crisis. Our measure to pump 33 billion U.S. dollars into the domestic banking was a key measure to stabilize the national economy."

During the third quarter of 2010, combined UAE bank profits jumped 46 percent year-on-year.

Speaking at the opening press conference of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Summit on the Global Agenda, scheduled to be held from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 in Dubai, Mansouri said he didn't want to give a forecast for 2011 yet.

However, Mansouri said while economic relations with China improved in the past years, with trade volume reaching 30 billion dollars in 2010, up from the 22 billion dollars in 2009, the UAE faces new challenges with other trade partners, such as Iran and Canada.

Trade between the UAE and its neighboring Iran had reached 12 billion dollars in 2008, and following the fourth round of UN sanctions against Iran for its suspected nuclear program, it is expected to halve in 2010.

"The UAE wants to continue to do exports to Iran and receive imports, as we support a peaceful solution regarding the nuclear issue," Mansouri said, adding "we do not want to lose Tehran as a trading partner."

Regarding Canada, Mansouri said he hopes the Canadian government rethinks its decision not to allow UAE airlines, namely Emirates Airline from Dubai and Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi to fly to Toronto on a daily basis.

"Canada claims they will lose jobs in their country if we fly daily", Mansouri said, noting "but the opposite is the case, our flights add 60 million dollars annually to the Canadian economy."

As a counter measure taken by the UAE government, Canadian citizens have to apply for a visa before they travel the UAE starting from Jan. 1, 2011.

The WEF Summit of the Global Agenda in Dubai, is the pre-summit to the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, which will take place in January 2011.

The three-day event, starting on Nov. 29, will mainly deal with risks the global economy faces in the post-crisis era. Among more than two dozens of high-profiled speakers attending the forum, will be Ren Xuefeng, Vice-Mayor of China's port city of Tianjin.

Source: Xinhua


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