Canada eyes UAE to boost retail, agriculture, oil sectors

Gulf News: By Sarah Diaa

Flag-Pins-Canada-United-Arab-EmiratesAbu Dhabi: With $2.6 billion (Dh9.5 billion) in two-way trade between Canada and the UAE, the Canadian embassy in Abu Dhabi said the UAE was a priority country, representing a market with the best potential for Canadian commercial interests.

“We would like to see greater UAE investment in Canada to build on its already-strong presence in Canada, which contributes to prosperity in both countries, and we hope to continue to increase our exports here,” the embassy said.

In an emailed statement to Gulf News, the embassy said that it expected to see an increasing number of Canadian enterprises coming to the UAE.

The latest Canadian brands to enter the UAE market are Lululemon, and Joe Fresh, with many Canadian companies looking at the UAE as a gateway to the GCC region.

The embassy added that it expected the growth in trade relationships to be in line with the growth of UAE as a global commerce hub.

“We are looking to further expand our presence in the food and agriculture sector. There is significant opportunity for Canadian exports of beef, seafood, and speciality food products such as organics and gluten-free in the UAE grocery retail industry and expanding restaurant industry,” the embassy said.

Expo 2020

Canada is currently the UAE’s largest supplier of agriculture food commodities. However, the North American country is also looking to boost trade in the infrastructure sector especially ahead of the Expo 2020 in Dubai.

The Canadian cities of Montreal and Vancouver hosted the Expo in 1967 and 1986 respectively.

“We are also looking to build upon this existing strong presence of Emirati investments in Canada by exploring ways in which increased investment could take place in Canada’s oil and gas, mining, alternative clean energy, infrastructure, food processing, and advanced technology areas,” the embassy said.

Along with trade, tourism relations between both countries are expected to grow, with new direct flights from Toronto to Dubai set to take off later this year. The new flights will represent a 50 per cent increase in flights between Canada and the UAE.

As part of the Shared Strategic Agenda providing framework for bilateral relations between both countries, the UAE and Canada have agreed to work on increasing the number of air travellers between the two sides.