The Dubai Economic Council (DEC) organised the “International Trade Finance for Sustainable Economic Development” seminar in partnership with Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered, FIIC and Pinsent Masons, on Sunday at the InterContinental Festival City hotel in Dubai.
The event was attended by Hani Al Hamli, DEC Secretary-General, Rob Waller, United States Consul General to Dubai, representatives of local departments, private companies, as well as representatives of American companies operating in the UAE and major banks.
Al Hamli said that today the world has become more complex and interactive than ever –a world based on the principles of inter-dependency, cooperation and coordination at the level of governments and institutions in various aspects, importantly economic, financial and trade.
“In light of economic and financial globalisation, there is an increasing importance of the role of international institutions in the financing of development programs in many countries around the globe in order to bridge the gap of financial resources and provide support and technical advice in various areas of development, especially infrastructure,” he added.
He stressed the important role played by Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) such as the US Export Import Bank and other financial institutions- in addition to financial service companies- in promoting cross-border international finance to emerging countries that need adequate funding so they can proceed with their development programmes.
Al Hamli pointed out that in its vision to be the strategic partner for the Government of Dubai in economic policy-making, and its mission to advise the government on innovative economic strategies and advocate sound economic policies that promote prosperous business environments, as well as to enhance Dubai's competitiveness in the world economy, the DEC has adopted the strategy of partnerships and alliances with many of the decision-making centres, both locally and internationally, international financial institutions, economic policy research centeres, among many others, in order to exchange advice, expertise and cooperation in various issues of strategic importance for the local economy. The council is more focused on the financial aspect through its cooperation with international institutions, as we believe in that funding represents the cornerstone of any development process.
Specifically, commercial financing with low cost and concessional terms has exceptional importance to the national economy due to its role in the business sustainability, whether internally or externally, it is beneficial to all parties involved in the economic process on one hand, in addition to its role in promoting economic relations between the trading partners on the other hand.
Strategic initiative to fuel Dubai mega projects
Al Hamli stated that the DEC recently inked an agreement of $5 billion (approx. Dh20 billion) with the U.S. Exim Bank, stipulates the latter will be providing credit facilities in the form of loans supportive for the US exports to finance the purchases carried out by several bodies in Dubai to fuel their infrastructure projects. This agreement would support evolving business and increase employment opportunities in addition to strengthening the efforts of Dubai to move forward in its development projects. Areas of cooperation include infrastructure such as air traffic control and airports, trains, subways, as well as ports and power generation development, oil and gas, petrochemical and water treatment.
Al Hamli acknowledged Michael Corbin, Ambassador of the United States to the UAE and Rob Waller, the US Consul General to Dubai and their teams for their vital role in transferring the idea of MOU project into reality. He also acknowledged Fred Hochberg, Chairman of the US Ex-Im Bank and his team for his acceptance to “share with us our vision to sign the stated MOU and for his keenness to enhance the trade relations between Dubai/ UAE and the USA.”
Among the participants is FIIC, one of the leading service providers that play an intermediate role between the U.S. Ex-Im Bank and businesses benefiting from the bank services
“This seminar reinforces Dubai's position as a hub for foreign investments and the conclusion of commercial contracts and transactions that contribute to advancing economic development which benefits various economic sectors and infrastructure projects” Al Hamli pointed.
Moreover, he said that the event will shed light on the role of international trade finance to meet the entitlements of Expo 2020.
Global summit in 2014 to address international trade finance
Al Hamli took the opportunity of the seminar to announce that DEC and its strategic partners intend to organise a global summit this year which will be announced in due course. The event will involve a major international financial institutions and private banks, global exports and imports credit agencies, banks, as well as representatives of the decision-making centres in the UAE, the region and the world. Attending the upcoming summit are representatives of major private sector companies, and will include strategic dialogues between all the parties to reach a common strategy to enhance trade finance to support development programs in Dubai and the UAE.
Following Al Hamli’s speech, Rob Waller, United States Consul General to Dubai delivered his honorarium speech in which he said that the U.S. Consulate General in Dubai considers the partnership as an effective way to enhance the trade relations across countries. He said “we do recognise the significance of international trade finance not only to support the exporters and importers but also to the sustainable economic process”.
Waller praised the ‘sustainability” concept and practices advocated by the UAE government particularly Abu Dhabi and Dubai. He indicated to the alternative and clean energy achievements made in both cities recently.
Waller concluded that the MOU signed between the DEC and the US Ex-Im Bank would strengthen the trade relations between the USA and Dubai/ UAE and will also support Dubai’s development efforts.
John McAdams, former U.S. Ex-Im Bank Vice Chairman & COO delivered his key note speech, emphasising the crucial role that the bank plays in facilitating development finance to emerging markets.
Following the keynote speech, a panel discussion was conducted titled “The Role of Export Credit Agencies and Service Providers in Corporate Financing” the panel was moderated by Alan Beard, professor, Author and Senior Advisor to FIIC and participated by Piers Constable, Director, Head of MENA Structured Trade & Export Finance, Global Transaction Banking, Deutsche Bank, Abdul Nasser Aqil Abbas, Senior Director, Treasury, DEWA, Torstein Richter, Head of Structured Export Finance Europe, Standard Chartered, Tarek Farouki, President, Financial Instrument & Investment Corporation FIIC, and Amir Ahmad, Senior Associate, Pinsent Masons.
The key themes of the panel included: ECA and the development process; Buyer/ borrower experience of ECA finance: lessons learn, and an example on ECA deals in Dubai.
On the sidelines of the event, both the DEC and the FCCI signed an MOU to lay down foundation for strategic partnership in several areas of collaboration especially in facilitating the future international trade finance to Dubai.
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