United Arab Emirates and Luxembourg solidify trade relations ahead of Expo 2020 Dubai


Between January 27, 2020 and January 30, 2020, high ranking state and trade officials from Luxembourg met with representatives from the United Arab Emirates to discuss the development of trade between the two nations. The delegate from Luxembourg were led by the hereditary Grand Duke, Guillame of Luxembourg. Other high profile members were Etienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of the Economy and Minister of Health, as well as Pierre Gramegna, Minister of Finance.

Topics of discussion on this economic mission covered a number of fields including space, fintech, logistics, information and communications technology, life sciences, and clean technologies. Both of these major players in the global economy operate from a primarily neutral standpoint in terms of state affairs, with both serving as a commercial gateway for much of the world. Luxembourg serves as a center of commerce for much of Europe as does Dubai for Asia, Oceania, and Africa.

According to Luxinnovation, the Luxembourg national innovation agency, the key undertakings of the economic mission were a Luxembourg-Dubai Business Forum in the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, a visit to Arab Health 2020, a Space investment forum, and a workshop on the participation of Luxembourg in Expo 2020 Dubai. Mr. Etienne Schneider was quoted by the Khaleej Times during the business forum that Luxembourg’s participation in the expo would, “further strengthen and develop the close and thriving partnership” between the two countries. According to Khaleej Times, Minister Schneider also indicated that the UAE is already Luxembourg’s most important trading partner in the Middle East.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and of Health, Etienne Schneider (right) shakes hands with Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates (left).

Start-up Support and Contemporary Renaissance

On day one of the economic mission, a start-up cooperation agreement was signed by Luxinnovation and the Dubai Future Foundation, which can be anecdotally referred to as Luxinnovation’s UAE counterpart. The agreement will make it possible for Luxembourg tech startups and established companies to access development and financing programs in Dubai and other affiliates of the DFF.

Key to engendering start-up growth in the region is also the performance of Luxembourg’s financial centre and funds in the region. The success of start-ups will lend itself to the success of Luxembourg’s funds in the UAE which according to Minister Gramegna, represent a market share of 75% of international funds marketed in the greater Middle East region. Minister Gramegna met with the CEO of the Dubai International Finance Center (DIFC), Arif Amiri to discuss the priorities of the DIFC in the coming years, with emphasis on fintech and sustainable finance in the coming years.

Part of this synergy of financial goals also incorporates the synchronization of Luxembourg’s and the UAE’s long-term vision with that of Islamic finance. This is one more stitch in the expanding tapestry of the Expo Dubai 2020. Cultural integration in this case is an elegant by-product of a shared vision and creative exchange. The expo allows these two to flourish in a congregation of innovative fields, and what better way to accentuate this than through the use of the many-faceted design aspects of the expo.

Artist’s rendition of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai which will provide a portion of the renewable energy for the expo. The expo is targeted to provide 50% of the required energy through renewable sources.

These design considerations range from architectural design such as the Möbius strip themed Luxembourg pavilion to the renewable energy provided by DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) through hydrogen cell vehicles and on-site solar arrays. The images preceding the event evoke thoughtfulness and hint at an experience in a higher echelon of understanding, one that unifies its audience through the spirit of innovation. From the elegance of Luxembourg’s Möbius loop to the rainwater harvesting technology of the Azerbaijan pavilion, this is an event curated to appeal to mankind’s forward thinking nature.

The Möbius strip inspired Luxembourg Pavilion.

Space Industry Collaboration

This emphasis on innovation in the tech sector will undoubtedly serve as a boon to bi-lateral space cooperation, a priority of both countries. The Technocracy first took note of Mr. Schneider thanks to his work on establishing a space venture fund in Luxembourg, which aids R&D in the sector. Luxembourg looked to expand on relations in space investment and finance collaboration they had previously established with another cooperation agreement when Guillaume, the Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Minister Schneider participated in a seminar on these topics in 2017; presumably at the Luxembourg for Finance event.

The Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Majid Saif Al Ghurair discussed the similarities of Luxembourg and the UAE and how they complement each other. Both open economies have expanded rapidly over the last several decades and share a common vision grounded in forward-thinking business strategies which emphasize economic diversification, attract foreign trade, as well as investors and companies from around the world to do business in the UAE and Luxembourg.

Al Ghurair also serves as the chief executive officer of the Dubai-based business group, the Al Ghurair Group, founded by his grandfather: Ahmad Al Ghurair. One could hazard an educated guess that these businesses will further thrive under the international collaboration. During the UAE-Luxembourg Business Forum, Al Ghurair also mentioned that non-oil trade with Luxembourg increased 35 percent to $69 Million in 2018 which certainly has the potential to rise further.

Arab Health 2020

The delegate from Luxinnovation and Luxembourg made stops at Arab Health, the largest medical trade fair in the region, which hosts more than 4,250 medical vendors from around the world. Though Luxembourg will establish their pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai later this year, they have already established a pavilion at the Arab Health event which hosts 6 companies, Ai Mediq, BioMind, Ceodeux, ExoAtlet, IMA-X, and Scipharm. This marked Luxembourg’s second participation in the internationally renowned health event.

Looking Ahead

This article has only scratched the surface of the collaborative and creative potential of the Expo 2020 Dubai. Here at the Technocracy we look forward to reporting on this monumental occurrence and its international partners. This event hosts so many of the efforts and ideas dedicated to human longevity that we find so admirable. Interested parties can visit the host website here for ticket pricing and options. The expo offers free tickets to children under the age of 5 years old, people of determination (individuals with handicaps and 50% off the ticket of one companion), 50% discount for students and youths age 6-17, and free access for seniors (65 years and up).

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