TheUAE-Japan SME Platform was officially inaugurated in Abu Dhabi on Sunday in the presence of Sultan bin Saee d Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, and Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan.
The platform will support bilateral efforts to develop the small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector. It was formed under the framework of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the UAE Ministry of Economy (MoE) and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in January 2017 concerning innovation and SMEs and the facilitation of communication and cooperation between the countries’ entrepreneurs.
The platform was inaugurated by Al Mansouri and Seko in the presence of Abdullah Al Saleh, the MoE’s Undersecretary for Foreign Trade and Industry; Osamu Mizui, executive vice-president of the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro); and Masami Ando, managing director of Jetro Dubai and Mena.
The platform is one of the key service and development programmes implemented by Jetro to facilitate the access of SMEs to international markets. It is the 22nd platform of Japan in the world and the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa managed by Jetro.
Jetro has appointed expert coordinators to support Japanese SMEs interested in expanding their business and making investments in the UAE. Jetro will collaborate with the UAE’s government entities in streamlining the process of establishing businesses and solving business-related issues.
Sunday’s inauguration ceremony featured the signing of the MoU between Jetro and the Dubai Department of Economic Development. Other MoUs are expected to be signed with the economic development departments of the other emirates to expand the platform’s framework.
Al Mansouri said the UAE and Japan have formed an exemplary partnership based on mutually beneficial cooperation in the commercial and economic fields. The Minister highlighted recent steps taken to develop effective mechanisms and models for cooperation by focusing on sectors of common interest, most notably SMEs. He said the inauguration of the UAE-Japan SME Platform will support these efforts, facilitate communication and cooperation between Emirati and Japanese entrepreneurs and encourage the establishment of trade and investment partnerships.
The Minister added that there is room for greater cooperation between the SMEs of Japan and the UAE. He encouraged more collaboration in taking advantage of opportunities in priority sectors under the UAE’s development agenda, particularly renewable energy, infrastructure, construction, transportation, aerospace, advanced technology, tourism, aviation, financial services, health care and education.
He pointed out that SMEs form the backbone of the UAE’s economy as they generate job opportunities, promote competition, create new industries and drive sustainable economic growth. He pointed out that there are more than 450,000 SMEs in the country, and the national target is to raise the share of SMEs in the gross domestic product (GDP) of the UAE to 70 per cent by 2021.
He added that the launch of the UAE-Japan SME platform in the UAE aims to offer a wide range of opportunities for the private sectors and entrepreneurs of the partner countries, especially in the fields of innovation and high technology.
Seko said the UAE-Japan SME platform will attract more Japanese businesses and entrepreneurs to the UAE, which will in turn deepen economic and trade partnerships between the two countries and open wider investment horizons.
Al Saleh said the UAE-Japan SME Platform will facilitate the establishment of partnerships between entrepreneurs of both countries and encourage leading Japanese companies to engage in vital activities in the UAE.
Ando said coordinators of the platform are well-experienced business advisors who provide consultation and advice to Japanese SMEs. He said the UAE’s government organisations, Chambers of Commerce, free zones and other local organisations will cooperate with the platform as support organisations, and assist SMEs in developing their businesses in the UAE.