Firms told to use Paris as gateway to Europe

Europe

The UAE and Gulf companies have been asked to use Paris as a gateway to Europe as Britain gears up for exit from the European Union.

“We hope the UAE companies will invest more in France as there are a lot of opportunities. We see opportunities with Brexit because Paris could become the next gateway for the UAE and Gulf investors and companies to Europe. They usually use London so if they want to invest in Europe they can use Paris as a gateway,” said Ludovic Pouille, France’s ambassador to the UAE.

Britain is scheduled to withdraw from the European Union following June 2016 referendum. New British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised Brexit by October 31. After Brexit, Britain would have no trade agreement with the European Union countries and also eliminate Britain’s tariff-free trade status with the other EU members. Hence, the UK is now looking to sign free trade agreements with different countries and regions around the world – including those in the Gulf region – to lessen impact on its economy.

Pouille said competition is hard in the UAE so if French firms continue to bring innovation and latest technologies, they will be able to grow fast here.

“We are looking at new sectors in relationships with the UAE such as renewable energy, artificial intelligence, fintech and startups to bring interesting solutions. We are also working on traditional sectors -oil and gas, luxury, retail, cosmetics, food and beverages. French pavilions are established in every big exhibition in Dubai with many strong participation to grow not only in the region but India, Africa and Asia,” the ambassador told Khaleej Times in an interview at the Gitex Technology Week.

“We have 16 French companies taking part in Gitex Technology Week in this year’s edition. Each year, we bring new companies, startups in the field of fintech, blockchian, open source, covering all the sectors,” the minister said, adding that “Dubai is the place to be for the growth of technology in the region.”

The UAE is France’s second largest trade partner in the region with bilateral trade at $4.5 billion a year. There are also 600 French companies present here in the UAE in different sectors.

– waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com

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