Lubna unveils plans to boost trade



The UAE’s newly formed Ministry of Foreign Trade has unveiled extensive plans aimed at helping the country in its bid to become the trading hub of the Middle East.


Speaking in her new role as Minister of Foreign Trade, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi on Thursday said the three-year development plan – called the ‘UAE Government Strategy’ – is set to enhance the approach to foreign trade by addressing key issues such as minimum standards for work environment.


The government will also focus on establishing a population policy, modernising the civil service, forming a national emergency system, a federal emergency management regulation system and providing a housing strategy.


The new scheme is divided into six sectors – society, economy, government, justice and safety, infrastructure, and rural areas – and aims to lead the UAE economy to its “next phase of prosperity” by 2010, she said.


Sheikha Lubna, the UAE”s former Minister of Economy, said the strategy also aims to form a National Competitiveness Council to advise the government on competitive issues, establish a national statistics office, formulate federal policies for small- and medium-size enterprises, and develop a federal framework for minimum regulations for both free and economic zones.


“The government’s blueprint for progress will have a profound impact on our international relations, as it will dramatically enhance the country’s already flourishing business climate,” Sheikha Lubna said in her address to members and guests of the British Business Group of Dubai and the Northern Emirates on Thursday.


According to government figures, the UAE’s investment revenues are currently one of the highest in the world and non-hydrocarbon revenues are expected to reach Dh179.8 billion by 2012. She said the nominal gross domestic product is expected to increase 60 per cent from Dh678.9bn in 2007 to Dh1 trillion by 2012, assuming a conservative oil revenue increase of just 19 per cent – or Dh300bn – annually.


“The creation of them ministry reflects the move towards more specialisation in the federal’ government’s institutions, which is necessary in light of the aggressive economic expansion and diversification plans,” she said.