UAE, Uruguay discuss ways to further strengthen ties

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Sheikh Mohammed meets Luis Lacalle Pou at Expo 2020 Dubai on Monday.

Staff Reporter, Gulf Today

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Monday met with Luis Lacalle Pou, President of Uruguay, who is currently on an official visit to the UAE to participate in Uruguay’s national day celebrations at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Sheikh Mohammed welcomed the President and his accompanying delegation, in the presence of  Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

During the meeting, which took place at the Uruguay pavilion, the two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral relations between the two nations in various spheres, including business, investment and tech sectors. The meeting also explored new avenues for expanding cooperation to serve the development goals of both countries.

The meeting discussed Expo 2020 Dubai’s role in building bridges of cooperation and bringing people together to learn about the world’s various civilisations and cultures, as well as discover new tech breakthroughs and solutions that serve humanity.

The President of Uruguay expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome and hospitality he received during his visit to the UAE. He said his country’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai provides a new opportunity for both countries to take bilateral relations to greater heights.

President Luis Lacalle Pou also congratulated the UAE on the exceptional hosting of the mega event, and said that the UAE has set an example for the world for promoting dialogue, coexistence and peace. He also wished the UAE and its people further progress and prosperity.

The meeting was also attended by  Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Media Council, and Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council.

During his visit to Expo 2020 Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed also toured the Panama pavilion accompanied by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed and Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed.

During the tour, His Highness learned about Panama’s efforts to facilitate global trade through the Panama Canal, a man-made wonder that links the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and connects the two Americas to the rest of the world.

Sheikh Mohammed also learned about country’s natural beauty, from teeming aquatic wildlife to cloud forests and mist-shrouded coffee plantation, in addition to Panama’s five UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Meanwhile, as part of efforts to strengthen economic ties between Malaysia and the UAE, companies present in the Malaysia Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai inked five multi-million dirhams worth of MoUs with UAE-based enterprises in a bid to spur sustainable agriculture between the two nations.

Dubbed as the highlight of the Malaysia Pavilion’s Sustainable Agriculture Week at the ongoing Expo 2020 Dubai, the partnerships formalised with the exchange of MoUs at the programme’s launch today will help Malaysia promote and expand its potential in sustainable agriculture by establishing strong engagement and strategic partnerships with the UAE and other global players.

The Malaysian companies also exchanged three other MoUs with companies from Egypt, Germany, and Maldives bringing the total number of MoUs to eight, all worth over Dhs173 million (MYR197 million) in potential trade and business opportunities.

According to the Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries Malaysia (MAFI), Datuk Seri Dr. Ronald Kiandee, the MoUs include extensive cooperation in research and development, trade and distribution, market access, commercial activities, investments, technology transfer, as well as sales and marketing of products and services.

According to the minister, this will significantly boost the Malaysian government’s sustainable agriculture efforts and contribute towards combating climate change.

Key areas of focus outlined in the MoUs include biodiversity to wellness, fruits of the tropical land and its by-products, smart urban farming, smart farming solutions and waste-to-wealth. Special focus will also be given to culinary sustainability, cutting-edge agricultural technologies and solutions, and investment opportunities for agricultural sustainability.

The week-long event, which kicks off from Monday, 21st February, to Friday, 26th February, 2022, will attract more than 2,000 visitors and delegates. With more than 20 Malaysian companies and organisations taking part, the event also aims to attract global collaborations and knowledge-sharing platforms to create new opportunities and fresh solutions to address COVID-19, poverty, and climate change through sustainable agriculture.

While delivering the keynote address on behalf of the minister, Mohd Tarid bin Sufian, Malaysian Ambassador to the UAE, said, “Malaysia has been at the forefront of seeking sustainable solutions that address the prevalent bottlenecks in food production, safety, and security. Malaysia’s Sustainable Agriculture Week at Expo 2020 Dubai is an important initiative that will spur and enhance investment and collaboration opportunities in sustainable agriculture and fuel the fight against climate change. We believe that UAE’s commitment to innovative thinking and sustainable development in key areas of focus will complement Malaysia’s direction towards technology adoption and modernisation in sustainable agriculture.”

During the much-awaited event, Malaysian companies will also launch and showcase some of their most sought-after agricultural products and services and use the platform to break into the regional market using the UAE as a gateway.

Historically, the UAE has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, with total trade between the two nations exceeding US$6 billion in 2019.

“It is evident that due to its growing popularity and influence in the trade and financial sectors in the region, the UAE stands out as an important partner for Malaysia. Our cooperation and partnership will help Malaysian agricultural producers easily access new markets in sustainable agriculture not just in the UAE but in the entire Middle East region. Malaysia will also serve as the gateway for UAE products and services in Southeast Asia,” Kiandee noted.

The Malaysian sustainable agricultural strategy is anchored on its Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 and MAFI’s National Agrofood Policy 2.0 of 2021-2030 which collectively emphasises the adoption of new technologies and digitalisation in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Senator Datuk Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid, Chairman of Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation (Bioeconomy Corporation), said, “As the implementing agency for Sustainable Agriculture Week, Bioeconomy Corporation strongly promotes the adoption of technological innovations especially those related to bio-based and biotechnology, which support and grow sustainable agriculture in Malaysia.’’

‘’Dubai has been at the forefront of adopting such value-driven technologies, including hydroponic technology and vertical farming, to boost its fruits and vegetable production. This is the direction that Malaysia is getting ready to take on more actively to enhance its agricultural productivity and most importantly, to open up more opportunities to access new healthy and sustainable-based products for Malaysia and UAE.”

The Sustainable Agriculture Week is one of the 26 weekly trade and business programmes hosted by the Malaysia Pavilion. The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysia is the lead ministry for Malaysia’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai with Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation as implementing agency.

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