- Interview with Amb. Abdulla Saif Alnuaimi of the United Arab Emirates in Seoul
The following are excerpts from an interview with Ambassador Abdulla Saif Alnuaimi of the United Arab Emirates to the Republic of Korea recently conducted by The Korea Post media with an aim for the promotion of relations, friendship and cooperation between Korea and the UAE. --ED.
|Ambassador Abdulla Saif Alnuaimi|
Question: President Moon Jae-in has recently won an 84% support from the Korean people, highest among all Presidents of the Republic of Korea so far. What is your view on this?
Answer: The rise of the popularity of a president indicates that the people are satisfied with his performance. Based on what is published by Korean media, the increase of the popularity of His Excellency President Moon Jae-in is generally attributed to his endeavour to strengthen communication with the people and to strengthen social welfare as well as his policies aimed at creating new jobs and introducing some reforms, among other things.
Q: Also, do you have the view of your Head of Government on President Moon Jae-in and his new government?
A: The United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Korea maintained excellent ties from the date they established their official diplomatic relationships in 1980. As a result of the progress made in different fields of bilateral cooperation, the leaders of the two countries upgraded the relationships to a strategic partnership in 2009. The leaders from the two countries maintain close ties and friendship. In observance of the special ties between the two countries and their leaders, the UAE leaders including His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, sent congratulatory cables to His Excellency President Moon Jae-in right after his election as President of the Republic of Korea. In addition, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan made a phone call to His Excellency President Moon to congratulate him on assuming the presidency in which he also discussed with him the strategic partnership between the two countries. There are major projects between the two sides in the fields not only in the of energy including the UAE’s supply of oil and gas to the Republic of Korea and the nuclear project being built in UAE by the Korean consortium but also in the areas of health and military. The UAE has many things in common with the friendly Republic of Korea. We expect the cooperation to continue with the Koreans.
|Ambassador Abdulla Saif Alnuaimi (right) interviewed by Publisher Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media.|
Q: Diversification and expansion of trade and economic cooperation with different countries of the world are expected vis-à-vis was used to be centred on the United States, Japan and other such countries. What are the possibilities of expanded trade and economic cooperation between Korea and your country under the new government in Korea?
A: Bilateral cooperation between the two countries in trade and economy was in good performance over the past years. As I mentioned earlier, the two countries are in a strategic partnership. This means that cooperation in all spheres is always considered from the long run rather than the short term perspective. Thus, there are great potentials for trade and economic cooperation to continue and expand in the coming years. Besides that cooperation is expected to be broadened in other fields mentioned above including health and military, among others.
Q: What are the major developments scheduled between Korea and your country, including the possible visit of your Head of Government to Korea?
A: The strategic partnership between the two partners is promoted and reinforced by the exchange of visits by leaders of the two countries. During the past few years, there were noticeable visits by leaders and high ranking officials from both sides. These include the visit made to Seoul by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai in 2007. His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces in 2006 and 2014. From the Korean side, former presidents Roh Moo-hyun, Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye visited the UAE during their tenures. Hence, there is always a possibility of new visits at any time by the leaders of the two countries in the future depending on the circumstances in order to follow up the joint projects between the two sides and discuss the bilateral relations and other issues of mutual interest.
Q: What is the current volume of bilateral trade, its outlook in the next 12 months?
The bilateral trade between the UAE and Republic of Korea topped $12.8 billion in 2016. It is expected to do well this year based on the good performance it showed in the first half of the year ($7.2 billion).
A: What are your competitive fields of industry and products attractive to Korea and what are Korean products and services that your country might wish to import?
The two countries exchanged a number of products in their bilateral trade over the past years. Oil, gas, aluminium ore and cooper scrap have been the main products exported by the UAE to the Republic of Korea. The UAE imports a wide range of products manufactured by the Republic of Korea. These include cars, mobile phones, machinery and equipment, automobile spare parts, electronics and textile, to mention a few.
Q: Who are the Korean companies actively engaged in the promotion of economic cooperation between Korea and your esteemed country? (Please provide The Korea Post with a list of about 20 representative companies so that they could also be covered for further promotion of bilateral cooperation.)
A: The UAE market is open to all Korean companies in different fields of services and products. A number of Korean companies, large as well as SMEs, established their branch offices in the UAE to promote and distribute their products in the country and beyond benefiting of the free zones built and the transit trade adopted in the UAE as well as other advantages including the geographical location of the country and the availability of labour force. The Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry opened its office in Seoul with the purpose of promoting the economic and trade between the two sides. In line with the new government’s policy to support SMEs, there are great opportunities for these enterprises in the UAE market.
8. What are the areas in your country where you want Korean companies to invest and what are the areas where you wish your business companies to invest in Korea?
There are many areas in my country in which Korean enterprises can invest in. These include petrochemicals, alternative and renewable energy, oil and gas, transportation and infrastructure, manufacturing, healthcare and education, defense and aerospace, real estate, tourism, agriculture and water, etc. On the other side, the UAE sovereign funds and enterprises can invest in the Korean market in different fields. They are not restricted to a certain field of products or services.
Q: Please introduce the Head of Government of your country in detail, including the major achievements. Please elaborate as President Moon and the New Government of the Republic of Korea are relatively less informed of the subject compared with their predecessors.
A: The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his fellow founding fathers established the United Arab Emirates in 1971. The path of the founding fathers is now followed by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, who continues to lead the nation’s march to progress and prosperity. The incredible achievements in the UAE in recent years have been made possible in many areas due to the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, as well as His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and their fellow members of the Supreme Council and Rulers. They have consistently contributed to developing the country through knowledge and innovation. The UAE today ranks among the world’s leading destinations across several key indicators and has become a true role model for countries around the world. The country enjoys a prestigious position in the Arab world and beyond due to its significant achievements in various fields and its strong presence in political, diplomatic, economic and humanitarian arenas at regional and international levels. The UAE has always been dynamic and proactive in communicating with other countries and building bridges of close cooperation and strategic partnerships to lead the way in political, economic, commercial, industrial, technological, scientific, educational, health and other sectors. It follows the policy of tolerance and openness to other nations and cultures around the world. The year 2017 is announced in the UAE as the Year of Giving.
Q: What are the attractive tourist destinations of your country?
A: There are several tourist destinations in the UAE around the year the matter that makes the country a favourable destination for tourists and businessmen from the East to the West. These include beaches famous for their golden sands and clean water, huge shopping centres for tourists coming for shopping, good recreational facilities, several golf resorts, the iced indoor ski resort that provides ski lovers with the opportunity to enjoy it around the year (Ski Dubai), distinguished sports such as falconry and horse and camel rides and racing, sand skiing made available by desert tourism, diving, natural reservoirs such as in Yas, geographical diversification, theme parks, Yas Marina Circuit, etc. This is made available through active and up-to-date government policies, security and stability, safety and tranquillity, openness to other nations and cultures and religious tolerance, distinguished geographical location, non-requirement or ease of entry visa for many nationals including Koreans who enjoy waiver for 90 days based on the agreement reached between the two counties, airports equipped with the modern facilities and flights that connect major UAE cities with most parts of the world, to name just a few.
Q: Please introduce yourself in detail, including your career, family and hobbies.
A: I have joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, UAE, in 2016 where I was appointed as Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Korea and officially presented my credentials on 27 December 2016. From 1992 to 1997, I joined the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) as a Senior Analyst. In 1997, I was seconded to the Privatization Committee for the Water & Electricity Sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi taking on the role of Director of Independent Water and Power Projects (IWPP). As part of my responsibilities, I became the first Emirati to preside over a unique UAE privatization enterprise that aims at producing water and electricity in one integrated project. My success with the project was recognized with a number of awards including the MENA energy sector’s coveted Power Personality of the Year 2014. In 2011, I was appointed Managing Director of the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) where I continue to serve as an advisor. In deference to my expertise and leadership in the power and water sectors I have been nominated as Chairman of the board for a number of public and private enterprises in my country. I have also been a board member for some other companies. I was a member of the Follow-up UAE President's Initiatives Committee until 2014 and President of the Canadian Emirati Businessmen Council. I was shortlisted for the Abu Dhabi Excellence Award, Administrative Sector (2008/2009). In 2011, I was cited by a specialized scientific magazine as one of the most influential 100 persons in the energy sector. After completing my Bachelor Degree in Management at the UAE University in 1992, I attended several graduate courses in the USA. I’m married and father to five children.
Q: Please add whatever other details that we might have left out from our questionnaire.
A: Thanks to the Korea Post Media for its interest in my country, the UAE and for the efforts it is making to introduce my country to potential Korean businesspeople and tourists.
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