Japan, UAE will sign an investment treaty to boost bilateral economic relations between the two countries, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe said in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
“Japan government will solidify the bilateral economic relations with the UAE by signing the investment treaty later in the day,” said Abe speaking at Japan, UAE Business Forum.
Japan Prime Minister was accompanied by 27 top business executives during this visit to the UAE.
He also said there have been dramatic developments between the two countries in the last five years in energy and other sectors.
“Japan’s Inpex has renewed offshore concession agreement solidifying relationship in the energy sector. There have also been advancements in infrastructure projects, education and space development, culture and people to people exchange.”
peaking earlier during the forum, UAE Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said non-oil trade between the UAE and Japan has grown by 8.4 percent in 2017 but the two countries are focussing on strengthening ties in the energy sector.
UAE-Japan non-oil trade
The non-oil trade between Japan and UAE touched $15 billion in 2017 with a growth of 8.4 percent over 2016 and the average growth of non-oil trade between the two countries during the past five years reached about 2.5 percent.
“The rates are excellent but in my opinion do not proceed in parallel with the strength of the two countries, not keep pace with the strength of trade and investment ties between them.
"That means there are a lot of opportunities and possibilities to develop our economic cooperation fields that we did not benefit from earlier,” said Al Mansouri.
On the investment side, the Japanese investment balance in the UAE has reached about Dh14.3 billion.
$28b bilateral trade
According to the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro), bilateral trade between the two countries stood at about $28 billion (Dh102.8 billion) last year, with Japan exporting $7.2 billion worth of goods to the UAE and importing about $20.73 billion, most of which was oil.
The UAE is the second largest exporter of crude oil to Japan after Saudi Arabia. In 2017, Japan imported $15.6 billion worth of oil from the UAE, the figures show.
In the energy sector, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) in February awarded a 10 percent stake in an offshore concession to Japan’s Inpex Corporation, with a participation fee of Dh2.2 billion to enter the Lower Zakum concession.
The interest in the concession will be held and managed by Jodco Lower Zakum Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Inpex. Inpex is also part of Abu Dhabi’s onshore concession with a 5 percent stake.
“The investment treaty is very important for both sides. This will enable both sides to invest more with a framework that will ensure investments are protected.
"By signing this agreement, we will open doors for the private sector to explore new areas of cooperation not only in oil but in various other sectors like health and education,” Juma Mohammad Al Kait, assistant undersecretary for foreign trade affairs told Gulf News.