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UAE-Swiss trade golden age adds technology to luxury

UAE Swiss trade Julien Thiel, CEO of Deasyl (left) and Yousif bin Saeed Lootah, CEO of Lootah Biofuels Lootah Biofuels enters into a partnership with the Swiss Deasyl during ADIPEC WAM
UAE Swiss trade growth: Julien Thiel, CEO of Deasyl (left) and Yousif bin Saeed Lootah, CEO of the UAE's Lootah Biofuels, signed a deal to explore a joint venture
  • Switzerland is UAE’s top non-oil importer
  • Luxury trade is still going strong
  • Growth in life sciences and fintech

The trade relationship between the UAE and Switzerland is enjoying a golden era, with the European nation now the top non-oil destination for Emirati exports.

Gold, jewellery and luxury watches traditionally dominated non-oil bilateral trade but innovation is growing in importance, according to Swiss Business Hub Middle East.

It said that technology was increasingly important to trade, which exceeded $16.5 billion last year. 

Swiss Business Hub Middle East, the Dubai office of Switzerland Global Enterprise, told AGBI it is seeing growing opportunities to diversify into sectors such as life sciences, engineering and fintech.

“Artificial intelligence, robotics, personalised health, cleantech and blockchain are fields of growth and introduction to new, disruptive technologies that we expect to contribute strongly to the future of bilateral relations between the two countries.”

Earlier this month, the UAE’s Lootah Biofuels and the Swiss tech firm Deasyl signed a deal to explore a joint venture to create “breakthroughs” in producing biofuels. Last month, Emirates NBD invested in Komgo, a Swiss software development company operating in the trade finance industry.

Earlier, in August, the Swiss-based Life Sciences signing an agreement with the Department of Health Abu Dhabi ithat focuses on promising early-stage biotech and medtech research projects. 

The embassy said it continues to receive requests from Swiss companies “showing serious engagement and choosing the UAE to establish a regional presence, not only to do business in the UAE but for the wider region”.

Swiss real estate

One such company is the Swiss real estate developer DHG Properties, which is due to launch its flagship project, Helvetia Residences in Jumeirah Village Circle, later this year.

Blagoje Antić, founder and director of DHG Properties, said the decision to choose the UAE for the project was a “no brainer”.

With Switzerland’s real estate market becoming increasingly saturated, Antić said, the launch of Helvetia Residences was “only the beginning” and he had ambitious plans to establish DHG as a significant playe” in the emirate.

“The government has demonstrated a commitment to supporting foreign investments through favourable regulations, tax incentives and infrastructural development,” he said.

“This provides us with a conducive environment to establish our presence, grow our business and diversify our portfolio.”

Blagoje Antić, of DHG Properties, told AGBI the decision to choose the UAE for the project was a ‘no brainer’
Mutual interest

Non-oil foreign trade figures for the first half of 2023 show that Switzerland is the UAE’s seventh largest trading partner and the biggest customer for UAE non-oil exports.

Gold and jewellery represented nearly 58 percent of Swiss exports to the UAE in 2021. Swiss companies tend to use the UAE as a re-export hub to the rest of the GCC.

Lats month the trade and enterprise freezone Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) concluded its first Made For Trade Live roadshow in Switzerland.

Ahmed bin Sulayem, CEO and executive chairman of DMCC, said at the time that the roadshow would boost the UAE’s “deep trade relationship with the Swiss business community, especially given areas of significant mutual interest such as energy, precious metals and gemstones”.

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