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Dubai-Dutch office digs into UAE and Netherlands trade

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - September 26, 2023: HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates (R), stands for a photograph with HE Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands (L), prior to a meeting, at Al Shati Palace. ( Mohamed Al Hammadi / UAE Presidential Court ) Wam/Mohamed Al Hammadi/UAE Presidential Court
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte met Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at Al Shati Palace during a recent visit to discuss trade
  • Plans for AED11.2bn bilateral trade
  • Horticultural sector driving growth
  • Netherlands in UAE’s top five European partners

Dubai International Chamber has inaugurated its fourth European representative office, in Amsterdam. The UAE is seeking to build on bilateral non-oil trade of AED11.2 billion ($3.1 billion) with the Netherlands in the first half of 2023.

Officials said the new office, which opened last month, will play a key role in enabling Dubai-based companies to expand into key European markets and attract foreign direct investment.

Arnoud Govaert, chair of the Netherlands Business Council UAE, told AGBI that agriculture, renewable energy and water are “significant” sectors driving growth in UAE-Dutch trade.

He said Dubai is an attractive hub for Dutch companies, particularly for fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products. 

“In terms of food security, the UAE is eager to boost its own production and, therefore, encourages investments in the horticulture sector, with many investors looking to use Dutch technologies,” he added. 

The Netherlands is a major agricultural powerhouse, second only to the US in terms of global food exports, and Dutch companies such as Signify, Certhon and Priva work closely with UAE businesses by exporting technology and know-how to build greenhouses. 

According to Dubai Customs statistics, the value of non-oil trade between Dubai and the Netherlands reached around AED11.5 billion last year, while 1,520 Dutch companies are registered as members of Dubai Chamber of Commerce.

The Amsterdam expansion is part of the Dubai Global initiative, which seeks to establish a network of 50 representative offices around the world by 2030.

Standard Chartered forecast that UAE exports will reach AED2 trillion by 2030, growing at an annual rate of 5.5 percent, surpassing the global rate.

Dutch delegation

Last month, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, minister of state for foreign trade, and Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands, agreed to deepen collaboration in industries of the future.

Both are keen to catalyse investment flows and joint ventures in priority sectors such as renewable energy, the space industry, artificial intelligence, agri-tech and smart mobility solutions.

Rutte led a Dutch delegation to the UAE seeking to establish a sustainable economic corridor that can leverage opportunities created by net zero and the drive for decarbonised value chains. 

This includes the potential for the transportation of green hydrogen between the two nations.

Al Zeyoudi said: “Our private sectors have already forged important joint ventures in sectors such as agri-tech and energy transition, and we believe that there are many more high-value opportunities to explore on the path to net zero.”

In August, Abu Dhabi-based ADQ partnered with Safe Haven Solutions, a Dutch climate-smart agriculture solution provider, to construct a high-tech greenhouse. 

Dr Nadeem Mohammed Aslam, co-founder of Safe Haven Solutions, said the initial 10-hectare facility will help to “strengthen the foundation of the UAE’s agriculture sector” as it accelerates towards securing year-round access to nutritious food that feeds a growing nation.

In phase two, the project will enter the commercial stage and double the growing area of crops to 20 hectares.

Top-five trading partner

Also in August, GL Holding announced the signing of a partnership agreement with Urban Mobility Systems, a Dutch company in the green energy sector, to launch a series of renewable energy projects in the UAE, starting with a factory to manufacture green batteries, electric motors, chargers and power generators.

The Netherlands is among the UAE’s top-five trading partners in the European Union. In the first half of 2023, bilateral non-oil trade rose by 20.4 percent increase on the same period in 2022. About 350 Dutch companies are operating in the UAE.

Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, president and CEO of Dubai Chambers, said:

“Our Amsterdam office will play a key role in enabling Dubai-based companies to successfully expand into key European markets.”

Govaert added: “As both nations continue to explore new avenues for cooperation, the future of bilateral trade and investment between the Netherlands and the UAE looks promising.”

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