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UAE and Italy underline the need to conclude FTA

posted on 16/01/2007: 2057 views



The UAE and Italy yesterday stressed the need to resolve outstanding issues that have hitherto delayed the signing of a free trade agreement between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the European Union (EU).



In remarks during a meeting held in Abu Dhabi yesterday, UAE Minister of Economy Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi and Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Massimo D'Alema underlined the need to finalise the outstanding issues and pave the way for a final deal.



The two officials made their remarks after reviewing progress of a meeting held between the two sides in Brussels recently.



On bilateral trade cooperation, the two sides , stressed the need to maximise investment opportunities by support small and medium scale businesses in the two countries. Sheikha Lubna briefed the Italian official on the state of the UAE economy, noting that the had gone a long way in diversifying its economy.



"Due to the economic diversification efforts, the oil sector now accounts for only 35% of GDP. Other sectors such as finance, real estate, tourism and industry account for the bulk of foreign investments", said Sheikha Lubna.



She added that the UAE is globally ranked third in terms of re-export trade.



For his part, Minister Massimo underlined the need to activate the joint committee on technical and economic cooperation between the two countries with the ultimate aim of boosting industrial cooperation. He also stressed the need for the two countries to participate and support trade exhibitions held in the two countries. Two way trade between the UAE and Italy rose significantly in recent years to Dh8.9 billion. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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