Arab News Digest

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Sharjah-Malaysia Business Roundtable strengthens economic and cultural ties

SHARJAH: The Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), in collaboration with the Consulate of Malaysia and the Malaysian Business Council, organised the ‘Sharjah-Malaysia Business Roundtable’ at the House of Wisdom today, convening Chairpersons and CEOs of influential entities in Sharjah, with diplomats, Malaysian delegates, and representatives.

The primary objective of the roundtable was to strengthen the existing ties of culture and trade between Sharjah and Malaysia, providing a platform to discuss the current market dynamics, strategic approaches, inherent advantages, and the promising investment opportunities available for both parties.

During the event, goals were announced to double the number of Malaysian businesses in the emirate while reinforcing the commitment to building mutually beneficial relationships and exploring avenues for collaboration and growth.

Exploring Avenues to Strengthen Relations

Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), opened the day
‘s proceedings with a keynote address, followed by a speech by Mohd Fadly Amri Aliaman, Consul-General of Malaysia to Dubai. In his address, the CEO of Shurooq expressed the importance of roundtable discussions in bringing together leaders from key institutions, authorities, and industries in Sharjah and Malaysia.

Al Qaseer noted that such gatherings are built upon existing relations and explore avenues to strengthen them through additional partnerships and investments. Highlighting the close relations between Sharjah and Malaysia.

Divulging further details into trade relations between Malaysia, the UAE, and Sharjah specifically, Al Qaseer said, ‘The UAE stands as the primary trade partner for Malaysia. In 2023 alone, trade volumes between Sharjah and Malaysia reached US$94.1 million. Globally, the UAE is Malaysia’s 17th trade partner globally, representing 32 percent of Malaysia’s trade with Arab countries.’

Diverse Economy and Promising Opportunities

The roundtable activities comprised a panel discussio
n featuring Mohamed Al Musharrkh, CEO of Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah); Fahmy Ansara Dahalan, Chairman of the Malaysian Business Council in the UAE, and Mohamed Al Rais, Executive Director at Al Rais Travel and Shipping Agencies Group.

Intersection of Developmental Vision

Al Musharrkh underscored that the support and services provided by Sharjah play a pivotal role in the UAE’s economy, as the strategic location, and diverse free zones, cultural and developmental standing attract investors specialised in a variety of sectors from different countries. He pointed out that this role contributed to turning the UAE into Malaysia’s second-largest trade partner in the region and that through collaboration with their Malaysian counterparts, they aimed to double the number of Malaysian businesses in Sharjah.

‘Exceptional relations bring us together with Malaysia, and we are working closely with the Malaysian Business Council to attract Malaysian enterprises and facilitate investment exchange between the UA
E and Malaysia, valued at around AED1.4 billion, which has made Malaysia a strategic partner of Sharjah and the UAE alike,’ Al Musharrkh added.

He expressed optimism about collaboration, especially within the Islamic financial sector, and mentioned the recently established direct flight between Sharjah and Malaysia, stating, ‘The recent addition of a direct flight between Sharjah and Malaysia will greatly encourage commerce and tourism between our two locations.’

Al Musharrkh also outlined the collaborative focus on various sectors, including tourism, advanced light manufacturing such as robotics, logistics, healthcare, human capital, and innovation through renowned universities in University City. He stated that he expects significant growth in these areas in the near future.

Growth, Resilience, and Stability

Fahmy Ansara, Chairman of the Malaysian Business Council in the UAE, expressed his gratitude to Invest in Sharjah for organising the roundtable, stating that it contributes to furthering the trade a
nd cultural relations between Sharjah and Malaysia. ‘The advanced regulatory and legislative environment in the UAE and the Emirate of Sharjah has encouraged Malaysian companies to expand into the Emirati markets. These companies have achieved impressive growth and demonstrated stability, underscoring the anticipation of further expansion in the upcoming phase,’ Ansara said.

‘This is attributed to many factors, such as the diversity of industries, the expansion into modern technology sectors within the UAE, and the strategic location that serves as a gateway to key markets across the region and the world. These factors will undoubtedly motivate more innovators and founders to establish their businesses here and enhance their partnerships with local counterparts,’ he added.

Strengthening Connection Between Sharjah and Malaysia

During the session, Al Rais commented on the increased impact of tourism in fostering economic ties and investment in the UAE. He stated, ‘Tourism naturally brings more residents to t
he UAE, leading to more foreign businesses and investment within the nation. We are actively working on increasing tourism and commerce between Malaysia and Sharjah.’ Highlighting the strong connection between the two locations, Al Rais acknowledged the prevalent use of connecting flights to Malaysia.

Attractive Business Environment

The roundtable showcased success stories of UAE-based Malaysian companies, including Chulia Middle East, GISB Holdings, IACS International, and Ever Sendai, who praised the supportive business environment in the UAE. They highlighted advantages such as the ease of business establishment, advanced infrastructure, a diverse economy, strategic location, and a skilled workforce.

The roundtable, organised by the Sharjah FDI Office, is an annual event that invites a different guest nation each year to explore mutual economic interests, aiming to enhance Sharjah’s global economic position and promote it as an ideal destination for investment, business, and trade exchanges.

Source: E
mirates News Agency