'Over 2,000 Indian firms joined Dubai business in 2019'

'Over 2,000 Indian firms joined Dubai business in 2019'

Dubai. AFP file photo

Over 2,000 Indian companies joined the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry as new members in the first six months of 2019, marking an 18 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, the business body said on Thursday.

The 2,208 new Indian firms accounted for 24.4 per cent of the new member companies that registered with Dubai Chamber between January and June 2019, bringing the total number of Indian members to 38,704.

"Over the same period, Dubai Chamber's representative office in Mumbai held 124 meetings with investors in India who are keen to enter the Dubai market and leverage the emirate as a strategic hub to expand their footprint in the region," the Dubai Chamber of Commerce said in a statement issued ahead of the official visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UAE on Friday.

India remains Dubai’s second-largest trading partner with AED 116 billion (USD 31.6 billion) worth of bilateral non-oil trade in 2018. Bilateral trade is currently dominated by precious metals and pearls, mineral products and base metals.

Recent Dubai Chamber analysis suggests that there are several areas where India can potentially boost its exports to the UAE, including pharmaceuticals, electrical machinery, vehicles, apparel and clothing accessories, the statement said.

Printed books, natural pearls, preparations of cereals, carpets and textiles were identified as high-potential products that can be exported from the UAE to India in the future.

Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the uptick in Indian members joining the Chamber follows important developments that have strengthened the India-UAE relationship in recent years.

"These include several high-level visits, strategic cooperation agreements signed by both the governments, the expansion of direct flights and a steady increase in bilateral trade and investment flows," the statement quoted him as saying.

He described the opening of Dubai Chamber’s representative office in Mumbai in 2018 as a strategic move in response to the increasing exchange between the UAE and Indian business communities.

Buamim also said that the Chamber has set a new target of attracting 200 Indian startups to Dubai that specialise in key areas where the emirate is investing such as block chain technology, artificial intelligence and smart city solutions.

He said that Modi's third visit to the UAE will send a strong message reiterating India's unwavering commitment to further strengthening this dynamic relationship and exploring new avenues of cooperation.