In this exclusive interview Director-General of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hamad Mubarak Buamim talks about inflation, free trade and other issues facing the chamber and the business leaders it serves.
The GCC single currency is due to be launched in 2010 – what benefits do you think it will bring?
It will reduce the cost of commercial transactions, help investors avoid the dangers of unstable exchange rates and unify financial policies. There will be a positive effect on trade and investment in the GCC and commercial exchanges with other economic blocs such as the European Union.
The DCCI has a special role in the creation of a business-friendly environment – what changes would you like to see to help achieve this?
Some federal and local laws should be modified in line with economic developments. The DCCI plays a role in the revision of laws covering investment, industry and customs.
Do you think the sub-prime crisis has had an effect on the Gulf states?
The economies of the region, including that of the UAE, have not been affected by the credit crisis. The slowdown in the growth of the US economy has coincided with unprecedented growth in the UAE. The growth here would benefit the US if the two countries signed a free trade agreement (FTA). An agreement should be signed quickly as both countries would benefit economically.
Can you describe the chamber's role in commercial mediation and arbitration?
The DCCI attempts to settle commercial disputes provided at least one party is a member. The DCCI received a total of 490 complaints involving disputes in 2007 and 183 were settled.
How do you think the industrial sector is performing?
The industrial sector in the UAE in general, and Dubai in particular, is growing. It contributes to the non-oil gross domestic product in a big way. Industry is an important part of the strategy of the DCCI and the Dubai Government. Evidence of this is the establishment of Dubai Industrial City (DIC), which opened in 2007. DIC is regarded as a model for industrial cities in terms of services, facilities and investment opportunities.
What steps has the DCCI taken to combat rising inflation?
The chamber has an effective role in establishing policies that contribute to the alleviation of inflation. It played a role in setting a cap on rents and the signing of agreements between the government and businesses to limit increase in prices. Inflation and high prices are reflected in the cost of projects in Dubai, but the general climate for industrial and commercial investment is still encouraging. The DCCI regularly monitors price movements via field surveys, research and studies that provide recommendations for decision-takers in a number of official departments.
Do you encourage the involvement of women in the commercial world?
In 2002 the DCCI established the Dubai Women Business Council and its membership now stands at about 180. This shows UAE national women have a growing wish to be more involved in the labour market and play their part in supporting the national economy.
What action are you taking to tackle the problem of crooks who set up bogus companies and accumulate loans?
The bodies in charge of issuing permits are taking joint action to investigate the activities of such companies and curb this phenomenon.
What are the aims of the chamber?
The DCCI has launched a new strategy to become the world's best chamber of commerce and industry through achieving three strategic goals. They are the creation of an environment that helps develop and support businesses and the promotion of Dubai as an international business centre. The strategy covers five main activities – policy support, development of trade and business, mainstream services, special services and research.
PROFILE: Hamad Mubarak Buamim Director-General, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry
For more than four decades the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has provided a variety of services aimed at helping businessmen.
It offers data, statistics and economic research, carries out mediation and arbitration and provides members with information on foreign companies. It sends missions abroad and organises trade fairs, economic forums and training courses for businessmen.
And it assists business councils and groups, provides credit classification services and issues certificates of origin to exporters.