SHARJAH- HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, today(May 26th) opened the 15th GCC Joint Exhibition and Businessmen Forum at the Expo Centre Sharjah.
The ceremony was held in the presence of Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Owais, Chairman, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO, Expo Centre Sharjah, and officials from the ministries of GCC countries, chambers of commerce, industry associations, dignitaries and guests.
The five-day event, held after a gap of seven years, is promoted jointly by all GCC member states with a view to catalyzing trade within the region.
In his opening speech, Al Mansouri thanked the Ruler of Sharjah for his patronage and keenness in enhancing the GCC relations and cooperation.
Speaking about the event, Al Mansouri said: “Gulf Cooperation Council has witnessed noteworthy achievements, and the creation of the Council continues to be a leading global experience and a distinctive step. Today, the Council seeks to promote collaborative initiatives as well as economic and social integration among the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. This is a crucial mandate that needs urgent action for GCC companies to compete with global conglomerates that are seeking to meet their own interests. This economic need has made it imperative for the GCC members states to come together to win over obstacles facing cohesion in a way that will, God willing, allow us to achieve the desired integration.
“Today, we stand at the beginning of a new era of constructive cooperation. In line with the wise guidance of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of U.A.E., we reaffirm our commitment to promoting cooperation between the GCC countries to achieve the desired social and economic integration that supports the interests of the GCC countries and their people.” Al Mansouri added: “This event emphasizes the vital role of Gulf businessmen in the economic growth of the GCC countries. The private sector including investors, manufacturers, and traders play a key role in the promotion of the GCC economic integration, especially with its contribution to the GDP of the six countries registering a steady and significant increase.” The 15th GCC Joint Exhibition features more than 200 exhibitors from across the Gulf region, including 70 participants from the U.A.E. The U.A.E. participation, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Economy, includes federal entities as well as leading private sector establishments. The platform has brought together representatives from GCC ministries of economy, in addition to regional and international players from the industrial sector, manufacturers and consumers, as well as investors and businessmen from diverse business sectors across the region.
Saif Mohammed Al Midfa said: “Since the launch of the exhibition in 1984, this is the first time that the event is being held Sharjah. With mega events such as the World Expo 2020 and the FIFA World Cup 2022 lined up to be held in the region, the importance of events like this increases manifold in view of the tremendous boost it can provide to trade exchange within the GCC states.
“GCC countries have emphasized the need for achieving economic integration, with the Gulf Common Market and the customs union regarded as key goals in this regard. This will help streamline the flow of goods, labor, capital and services within the region.” “The upcoming integrated railway network is seen as an important catalyst that will boost the region’s development agenda. Greater economic integration will also give GCC states an upper hand in negotiating trade agreements with other regions.” Apart from supporting small and medium enterprises, the show focuses on encouraging innovation, showcasing investment opportunities, promoting services, industries and products of GCC countries, and enhancing trade within the region.
The opening day of the event featured a conference on ‘Deepening Economic Integration among Gulf Countries’. The segment examined the private sector’s perspective on economic cooperation among the GCC countries and its views on economic integration.
The 15th GCC Joint Exhibition and Businessmen Forum is being held at a time when trade within Gulf countries registered a growth of 5.5% during 2013 to US$93 billion from nearly US$88 billion dollars in 2012. The figure stood at US$85 billion in 2011, against only US$ six billion in 1984.-WAM