Visitors at the Expo 2020 Dubai. Kamal Kassim, Gulf Today
Inayat-ur-Rahman, Business Editor
Bosnia and Herzegovina considers Expo 2020 Dubai as an opportunity to take concrete steps to strengthen mutual relations and greater representation of companies from BiH in the UAE market but also globally, we are convinced that our companies satisfy the standards and quality required in this market with their products and services.
This was revealed by Sarajevo Canton, Minister for Economy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, during an exclusive interview with Gulf Today, adding that the relations between both countries are good and friendly and he is certain that in the future their relations will be intensified and hope they will have new bilateral agreements, which will result in increased trade and investment.
The minister echoed that Expo 2020 Dubai is very important for them for several reasons – primarily his country wants to improve bilateral relations with the UAE as the host country of Expo 2020, we are also engaged in improving our relations with other participating countries. We intend to organise as many G2G meetings and B2B meetings so that we can all benefit.”
“For Bosnia and Herzegovina, the opening of new markets means a new chance for the development and improvement of primary production and processing capacities” Canton added.
He noted that he would also like to take this opportunity to express his special gratitude, on behalf of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for generous assistance with the medical equipment provided to us over the past year by the UAE.
He stated that the recent visit to the BiH pavilion and BiH Country Business Briefing by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, President of Dubai Airports, President and CEO of Emirates Airline & Group, and H.E. Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani a non-royal government official at The Ruler’s Court are an additional confirmation of the strengthening of our relations.”
“BiH companies will have the opportunity to present their products and major projects, we will use the opportunity to invite foreign investors to come and invest in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A special aspect of our presence is the opportunity to promote our tourism potentials. On the note of tourism in the past two years, Sarajevo and BiH have recorded the largest number of tourist visits from the UAE, where we are recognised as one of the most desirable tourist destinations.”
“Bosnia and Herzegovina has exceptional potentials and we want to become a desirable place for investment and business. Aware of the global consequences of the pandemic, we are making additional efforts to promote our private sector because investments in this sector can only pull us out of this kind of crisis.”
“We are extremely satisfied with the first meetings that our official delegation had. The feedback from our business delegation is amazing and we are already discussing serious potential investments. By the end of Expo 2020, more of our business delegations will be at Expo 2020 and it will be an additional opportunity to present themselves.”
“In the first half of January, our tourism potentials will be presented at Expo 2020 to further explain the potentials and opportunities for foreign investment, as the tourism sector becomes increasingly potent and important for overall economic development. However, we hope to find strategic partners in the areas of agricultural production, food production, wood furniture production, and the IT and manufacturing industries. These are our strategic industries with the greatest potential for rapid growth and development. Investing in these areas guarantees a safe return of investment and we will do our best to present it to potential investors.”
“I would list just some of our advantages: geostrategic position, natural resources, versatile industries, industrial zones and infrastructure, favourable legislative framework, low tax rates, for example, income tax is 10%, competitive and highly educated workforce, European perspective, stable currency and regional free trade agreements.”
“BiH is at the crossroads of East and West, which gives it a competitive advantage in the global economic field, that is, strategic advantage for trade between Europe and the Middle East. Of course, there is also our European integration path and many ongoing reform processes that further improve the conditions for favourable foreign investment. We especially emphasize the stable currency, which is completely tied to the EURO.”
According to data from 2019, the volume of trade between our two countries amounted to about Dhs130 million the coverage of exports by imports amounted to some 168%. We exported carious products to UEA, ranging from processed wood, processed oil by length, petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, to military weapons and ammunition. The exchange is low and, in this sense, there is ample room for improving the relationship.
According to the information I have, the UAE has so far invested over Dhs200 million in BiH, which certainly makes the UAE one of the important investors in our country in the past few years.
“We are continuously working on improving the business environment through changes in the legal framework that will greatly facilitate the entry of foreign investments into the Canton. We will open the Investment Agency in 2022 to provide future investors with a direct connection with government institutions and we believe that the Agency will be a reliable and secure partner to our future investors.”
We are also investing a lot in the development of infrastructure and business-industrial zones in the Canton and we are sure that we will create a favourable environment that will be attractive to investors. In 2022, we plan to strategically encourage our most developed industries to make them competitors on the global market, which we believe will be attractive to potential investors because we want, as a government institution to be a reliable partner to both domestic and foreign investors.” Canton concluded.
Tourism is one of the fastest-growing industries in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our country is recognized as one of the ten countries that record a significant increase in incoming tourism. BiH’s natural resources and ecological diversity, as well as mountains, rivers and forests, form a strong basis for the development of outdoor tourism, as well as other investment opportunities, such as: opening and construction of new tourist resorts, thematic contents expansion and upgrade of accommodation and sports facilities in existing settlements hotel privatization.