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UAE continues to position itself as global trade, investment hub

Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy (MoE), on Sunday opened Gulfood Manufacturing, the largest food and beverage processing and packaging show for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA).

The event has reconvened the global industry at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to power smart innovations in food manufacturing and reignite live, face-to-face big business opportunities over the next three days – and beyond.

Al Marri said the UAE today occupying a leading position in the region’s food trade industry, attributing this success to the wise vision of the country’s leadership. The UAE’s trade in food commodities contributed more than 7% of the country’s GDP for 2020, and more than 8.4% of the non-oil GDP for the same year at current prices.

He explained that the UAE continues to position itself as a major global trade and investment hub, and manufacturing partner in the food sector, as trade in food commodities accounted for 5.5% of the country’s total non-oil foreign trade volume during the first half of 2021 and about 6.2% in 2020.

Over the past five years, from 2016 to 2020, the volume of the UAE’s trade in food commodities grew by 21% with a cumulative volume of Dhs444 billion. During 2020, despite the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic on food and beverage trade in particular, the country achieved 3% growth in its food and beverage exports compared with 2019. In the first half of 2021, the country’s trade of food commodities grew 9% compared with period last year.

“Gulfood Manufacturing has fostered its leading position as a global platform for F&B supply chains and highlights the UAE position as a regional and global hub. The show has become a rich platform of innovative and digital solutions that harness technology to develop enhanced products, services, and solutions for food manufacturing and trade. We are confident that the show will drive further economic activities and incentivise added-value business practices by facilitating best practices exchange, which is aligned with the national UAE objectives,” He said. “F&B related economic activities are a key pillar for various comprehensive national strategies that aim to develop the operational framework and launch projects and initiatives that contribute to the economic and social development in the UAE throughout the coming decades. This falls in line with the vision of our wise leadership, the Principles of the 50, and the UAE Centennial 2071, and most importantly the economic diversification strategy that aims to increase exports and attract further investments; as well as Operation 300 billion, which aims to enhance national strategies and Food Security Strategy,” he added.

The minister also stressed that Gulfood Manufacturing provides an ideal platform for partnerships and discussions on the potential development of the industry through innovation and technology to address key challenges regionally and globally related to production, manufacturing, sustainability, supply chains, meeting consumer demand, and responsible consumption culture.

Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri toured the mega show, which runs until 9 November, in the presence of government officials; international trade representatives and high-profile industry delegates.

Together with its three sector-specific co-located regional industry leading events: yummex Middle East, the most established sourcing platform for the sweets and snacks sector; the Speciality Food Festival, for the gourmet and fine food industry, and Private Label and Licensing Middle East, the only Private Label and Licensing exhibition in the Middle East and North Africa, the mega industry showcase spans 15 DWTC halls featuring 1,250 exhibitors from 55 countries.

This week’s event is a panorama of the sector’s future and a hi-tech showpiece of industry automation driving post-pandemic transformation of a crucial economic segment to meet shifting consumer trends, sustainability demands, logistics challenges and food security needs.

The show is packed with solutions to transform an industry that is now among the top three contributors to the UAE economy and will address the sector’s sustainable packaging, automation, and global F&B supply chain dilemmas.

“This is a watershed moment for the industry and the show and associated FoodTech Summit will provide first-hand insights into the megatrends and innovations redefining food manufacturing locally, regionally and globally,” explained Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President, Events Management, DWTC.

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