UAE, Israel will cooperate on financial services, investment

UAE, Israel will cooperate on financial services, investment
Israeli and Emirati officials signing a protocol in banking and finance in Abu Dhabi. (WAM)
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Updated 01 September 2020

UAE, Israel will cooperate on financial services, investment

UAE, Israel will cooperate on financial services, investment
  • ADIO, Invest in Israel agree to set out a plan to establish formal cooperation

JERUSALEM: The United Arab Emirates and Israel agreed on Tuesday to set up a joint committee to cooperate on financial services, aiming to promote investment between the two countries, an Israeli statement said.
An Israeli delegation is in Abu Dhabi on a historic trip to finalize a pact marking open relations between Israel and the Gulf state.
Representatives from both countries signed the understanding, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the statement.
One focus, Netanyahu said, would be on “cooperation in the field of financial services and removing financial barriers for making investments between the countries, as well as promoting joint investments in the capital markets.”
The countries will also collaborate in banking services and payment regulations, he said.
Separately, the state-run Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) and Invest in Israel, part of the economy ministry, agreed to set out a plan to establish formal cooperation between them, they said in a joint statement.
“The organizations will explore mutually beneficial areas of collaboration to unlock investment and partnership opportunities for companies in Abu Dhabi and Israel with a strong focus on innovation and technology,” they said.

An initial virtual meeting was held between Ziva Eger, Invest in Israel chief executive, and Monira Hisham Al-Kuttab who leads ADIO’s international promotional activity. Further meetings are scheduled throughout September.
“Israel’s ecosystem has a lot to offer to the UAE’s economy in terms of innovation, specifically in the Life Sciences, CleanTech, Agtech and Energy sectors,” Eger said in the statement.
ADIO Director General Tariq Bin Hendi said ADIO’s investor care team would “facilitate connections throughout Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem” and explore opportunities over the coming months.
Israeli officials have been quick to play up the economic benefits of the accord, which once formalized would also include agreements on tourism, technology, energy, health care and security, among other areas.
A number of Israeli and Emirati businesses have already signed deals since the normalization deal was announced.

 


Indonesia campaign helps SMEs enter Saudi market

Indonesia campaign helps SMEs enter Saudi market
Updated 50 min 45 sec ago

Indonesia campaign helps SMEs enter Saudi market

Indonesia campaign helps SMEs enter Saudi market
  • They will be the main target of the export initiative, which is estimated by the Indonesian Ministry of Trade to be able to generate $60 million

JAKARTA: Indonesia has launched a campaign to help small firms in the country compete for millions of dollars-worth of food trade in Saudi Arabia.

The government aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) improve the quality and competitiveness of their products to meet the Kingdom’s required standards, Indonesian trade and commerce officials have said.

Under normal circumstances, before the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, around 1.5 million Indonesians a year make the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj and Umrah and hundreds of thousands work in the Kingdom.

They will be the main target of the export initiative, which is estimated by the Indonesian Ministry of Trade to be able to generate $60 million.

To meet the Saudi food regulator’s standards, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin), the Ministry of Trade, and the Ministry of Cooperatives and Small-Medium Enterprises have teamed up to assist SMEs in improving products such as bottled chili sauce, soya sauce, coffee, tea, and sugar that are in highest demand among Indonesians in Saudi Arabia.

Kadin chairman, Rosan Roeslani, told Arab News: “We have facilitated five small-medium enterprises that produce soya sauce to obtain Saudi Food and Drug Authority approval for distribution, while nine tea and coffee producers are in the pipeline to also obtain a license. We have also submitted the application for four bottled chili sauce producers.”

While travel and pilgrimage restrictions remain in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak, he said that the time before things get back to normal will be used to prepare the SMEs — which contribute 60 percent to the country’s gross domestic product and employ up to 90 percent of its workforce — for expansion into the Saudi market as soon as the pilgrimage sector resumes.

“We still have time to groom them as there are many aspects such as hygiene, and consistency in their product quality and quantity that they need to improve,” Roeslani added.

In 2014, the Ministry of Religious Affairs issued a regulation obliging catering companies that provided food and drink to Indonesian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia to source their products from Indonesian producers whenever possible.

Indonesia’s vice religious affairs minister, Zainut Tauhid Sa’adi, said that as each Indonesian pilgrim received food from caterers an average 75 times during his or her pilgrimage, demand was high but supply in Saudi Arabia remained limited and similar products from India and Thailand had been used instead.

Kasan Muhri, director general for export development at the Ministry of Trade, told Arab News that the program to prepare the SMEs had been in the making since 2017 and officials eventually decided to launch it this year despite the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Just because there are few Umrah pilgrims now and this year’s Hajj remains uncertain, it does not mean that the market is gone.

“People from around the world would still go to Saudi Arabia to perform the pilgrimage, not just Indonesians, so we are doing this to anticipate the market when the economy revives, and things are recovered. We don’t want to be left behind,” Muhri said.

Besides food and beverage products, officials say they are also looking into the possibility of exporting items such as goodie bags, prayer beads, and other pilgrimage accessories made by Indonesian SMEs.