DIFC discusses initiatives to strengthen Economic and Financial Cooperation between the UAE and Spain



2nd seminar hosted in association with the Madrid Centro Financiero

Rivera, MCF: "The impressive structure and competencies available in DIFC are not common in Europe"

The Dubai International Financial Centre ("DIFC”), the financial and business hub connecting the region’s emerging markets with the developed markets of Europe, Asia and the Americas, today hosted “UAE and Spain: Economic and Financial Cooperation”, an investment conference held in association with the Madrid Centro Financiero (“MCF”). The event comes in line with DIFC’s commitment to develop strong partnerships with other financial centres around the globe.

Speakers at the event included prominent industry figures from both countries, with HE Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary, Ministry of Foreign Trade, UAE and HE Gonzalo de Benito Secades, Spanish Ambassador to the UAE giving key note speeches.

The DIFC - MCF Seminar 2011 builds on the success of the first seminar which was held in Madrid concurrently with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) between the DIFC Authority and MCF in September 2010. The MoU supports bilateral relations and encourages investment between Spain and the UAE as well as the wider region.

The UAE is considered as the first destination of Spanish exports to the Middle East region, and is ranked as the third in the broader MENA region. Spain’s annual exports to the UAE are currently estimated at about 1 billion euros. The trade balance between both countries has been traditionally favourable to Spain, but practical steps are being adopted to address this trade imbalance.

Opening the conference, Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “The flourishing bilateral relationship between the UAE and Spain proves that there is ample room for mutually enriching cooperation. The continuing efforts by the Spanish and Emirati authorities to maintain open and effective dialogue provide a solid foundation for the continuing development of our social, cultural, and commercial links.”

Pablo Rivera, Deputy Director, Madrid Centro Financiero, said: “Dubai and Madrid represent bridges between Europe and their respective regions of influence, MEASA (Middle East North Africa and South Asia) and Latin America. Our close cooperation is paving the way for better and wider economic interaction between these important growing regions.”

The event, which was held at the DIFC Conference Centre on 15 December 2011, focused on banking, financial and investment opportunities between Spain and the UAE. It covered topics such as economic and financial relations between the two countries, legal & regulatory aspects of setting up business in UAE and Spain, Islamic finance and developing public private partnerships in the area of infrastructure projects.

In his key note speech, HE Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary, Ministry of Foreign Trade, UAE said: “In the first UAE-Spain Joint committee meeting, we agreed on promoting the flow of investments, enhancing our bilateral trade ties and supporting the private sector’s role in the economic growth of our respective nations. I am glad to note that the bilateral trade between Spain and the UAE has been growing at an annual rate of 15 per cent, reaching an impressive 2.5 billion AED in the first six months of 2011,with the UAE exporting goods worth 88 million AED, re-exporting 226 million AED and Importing 2.1 billion AED. Through the creation of new partnerships and mutual efforts, we hope to boost these figures even further in the coming years.”

HE Gonzalo de Benito Secades, Spanish Ambassador to the UAE, said: “Spain and UAE have developed strong relations in the commercial, financial and economic fields during the last few years. We have seen our bilateral trade progressing very rapidly and reaching a peak of USD 1.6 billion in 2008. Since then, our figures have somehow declined as a consequence of the global economic situation. However, we expect to register significant progress going forward as already evident from 2011 year-on-year figures. Foreign investments have also progressed well in recent years, with the UAE being the first foreign country investing in Spain in 2009.”

Others participants at the event included José María García-Agulló, Managing Director, PanBuck Europe; Samer Qudah, Partner & Head of Corporate Structuring, Al Tamimi & Company; Kevin Birkett, Head of Financial Services & Business Relations, DIFC Authority; Jesús Pedrero Martínez, Head of Capital Markets and Investor Relationship, CECA (The Finance Entity of Spanish Saving Banks); Fernando Minguez, Partner-Banking Law, Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira; Bryan Stirewalt, Managing Director-Supervision, Dubai Financial Services Authority; Jaime Montalvo, Economic and Commercial Counselor in UAE; Dr Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist, DIFC; Olivier Schwartz, SVP & General Counsel, DP World; Pedro Mugarra, Managing Director, Sener Abu Dhabi; Usama DeLorenzo, Associate Partner, Praesidium; Josep Marsal, Partner-Finance & Tax, Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira; Husam Hourani, Managing Partner & Head of Banking, Al Tamimi & Company; and Shaykh Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo, independent Shari’ah advisor in Dubai.

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DIFC MCF Seminar 2 - Arabic

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