In line with its ongoing efforts to promote collaboration between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) recently hosted the first meeting of the joint working group from the two countries at the ministry’s headquarters in Dubai.
The Saudi-Emirati joint working group is part of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council.
Younis Haji Al Khoori, Undersecretary of MoF, as well as representatives from the ministry and relevant government entities, attended the meeting. The Saudi delegation was headed by Jaber Al-Mishaal, Executive Director of International Relations and Commercial Attachments at the General Authority for Foreign Trade.
Al Khoori welcomed the Saudi delegation and reaffirmed the deep historic relationship the two countries share based on the foundations laid by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the Emirates.
He said: “The UAE is keen to strengthen its cooperation with Saudi Arabia in various areas, especially when it comes to facilitating the flow of traffic at customs points. This supports strategic projects between the two countries and helps achieve happiness and prosperity of the people.”
He added: “This meeting is a platform to enable the two nations to discuss the mutual challenges that may affect economic and commercial cooperation. As per the directives of the Executive Committee of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council, the Ministry of Finance will work to coordinate with the concerned authorities to ensure the optimal application of this meeting’s outcomes.”
The results of the strategic partnership between the UAE and Saudi Arabia were reviewed, which demonstrated that the value of investments of Saudi citizens and banks in the UAE amounted to Dhs 10.93 billion in 2018, of which Dhs6.35 billion was the value of Saudi investments in joint-stock companies allowed to be exchanged for Gulf nationals. There was a further Dhs4.58 billion in the value of Saudi investors’ transactions in the country. The number of licences for economic activities granted to Saudi citizens in the UAE reached 12,329 in 2018, including 1,282 professional licences, 9,565 commercial, 950 industrial, 468 tourism, 29 agricultural and 35 for other activities.
The value of real estate deals made by Saudi citizens in 2018 amounted to Dhs1,064 billion, and the total amount of real estate owners from Saudi citizens reached 14,455. During the same year, the number of Saudi employees covered by pension and social security in the UAE reached 4,055 beneficiaries, and the number of Saudi students enrolled in general and vocational education schools in the country reached 2,147. Furthermore, the number of Saudis benefiting from health services in the UAE in 2018 was 59,068.
Unsurprisingly, Saudi Arabia is the United Arab Emirates’ foremost partner in the GCC. Trade between the two countries increased from Dhs71.60 billion in 2016 to Dhs97.30 billion in 2017, and then to Dhs107.42 billion in 2018 - this constitutes 49 per cent of the total trade exchange value of the UAE with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
The Executive Committee of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council’s meeting held in Riyadh on 15 April 2019, decided to assign Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan, Minister of Finance of Saudi Arabia; and Obaid bin Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs; in coordination with the relevant authorities in the two countries, to form a joint working group to facilitate and enhance trade.
During the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council meeting, seven committees were formed to achieve Emirati-Saudi cooperation in vital fields, in order to achieve the common vision of the two countries and enhance bilateral ties.
The seven committees include the Finance and Investment Committee chaired by Al Tayer and Al-Jadaan.
The committee will implement several strategic initiatives when it comes to customs union and the common market, services and financial markets, as well as entrepreneurship. -- Tradearabia News Service