The tour aims to highlight business potential and investment attractions in the emirate and exchange expertise.
A delegation of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) wrapped up on Thursday its tour of China, which began on 11 June with the aim of promoting Sjarjah's investment opportunities and business potential in Beijing and Hong Kong. The delegation, which was led by Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Chief Operating Officer, and included Elie Armaly, Director of Business Development, and Mohammed Juma Al Musharrakh, Head of Investment Promotion, held a series of meetings with officials from economic and commercial sectors, as well as with representatives from tourism, business, and investment sectors, and government authorities in Hong Kong. Commenting on the tour, Ahmed Al Qaseer, said "Following successful meetings with a number of Chinese companies and agencies in Beijing on the sidelines of our participation in the 9th Annual Beijing International Tourism Expo (BITE 2012), we headed to Hong Kong, one of the world's most important business hubs, where we met with representatives of the business community, including investment and commercial agencies, to discuss possible ways to develop economic and commercial cooperation between Sharjah and Hong Kong." "The tour comes in line with Shurooq's strategy to promote the emirate and highlight its tourist attractions and investment opportunities, as well as its distinguished geographic location, sophisticated infrastructure and advanced transport networks that allow easy access to local and global markets," Al Qaseer said. He added: "Sharjah's economy has one of the highest level of diversification in the region: Sharjah is the only economy in the Middle East with no single sector contributing to more than 1/5th of GDP, offering a great investment opportunity to companies and various sectors in the emirate." During the meetings, Shurooq highlighted that Sharjah enjoys a strategic location between Europe and the Far East. Sharjah is the only GCC hub with direct access to the Gulf and Indian Ocean, offering a gateway to 160 countries, including 2 billion people. Shurooq's delegation began its three-day visit to Hong Kong with a meeting with Brenda Poon, Director of New Markets at Hong Kong Tourism Board, where delegation members listened to a presentation on the council's experience in promoting tourist destinations in the city. Both sides discussed ways of cooperation between them. During a meeting with the management of Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the delegation met with Marc Castagant , Board Chairman, Bahzad Merzai, Deputy Chairman of the board, and a number of officials. Then, the delegation held a meeting with Simon Galpin, Director General of Hong Kong Investment Authority, Pricilla Lu, Head of Financial Services, and Angelica Long, Director of International Operations at the authority. Henry Chung, Chairman of Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, affirmed the deep-rooted and historical relations between China and the UAE, particularly between Hong Kong and the Emirate of Sharjah. He pointed out that the relations date back to several decades due to the extreme interest showed by His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and the Chinese Government, to develop bilateral relations and take them to higher horizons. Shurooq's delegation held another meeting with the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong which was attended by Raj Sital, the Board Chairman, and FH Wan, Director General of the chamber. The Indian Chamber expressed its great interest in cooperating with Shurooq and called for organizing mutual visits to know Indian companies headquartered in Hong Kong and want to expand in the Gulf and the Middle East region. The delegation concluded its meetings in Hong Kong with a meeting with Hong Kong Trade Development Council, where Raymond Yip, Deputy Chief Executive of the Council, praised considerable efforts and the tremendous development witnessed in Sharjah. He stressed his country's keen interest in strengthening the relations and extending bridges of cooperation between Hong Kong and the emirate. "Sharjah pioneered in establishing and developing many points of investment attractions in the Gulf region and the Middle East, and thus we are pleased to develop bilateral relations, especially that Sharjah enjoys an important strategic location and is a point of attraction for businessmen," Raymond said. He expressed his hope that the near future would see joint cooperation agreements be concluded between both sides. He further went to say that the UAE and Hong Kong have huge capabilities for further cooperation, especially that both parties adopt the policy of economic openness and investment encouraging encouragement, in addition to mutual trust based on strong and distinguished political relations, thus opening up brooder horizons for further future cooperation. Shurooq's delegation outlined the huge capabilities in the UAE and Sharjah, the existing investment opportunities in the Emirate and facilities and incentives offered by the Emirate of Sharjah to foreign companies that seek to invest in the UAE and benefit from its strategic position as one of the most important financial and economic hubs in the region and world. The delegation also highlighted the most important investment sectors in the emirate and its rewarding investment opportunities that live up to the aspirations of major global companies. Elie Armaly, Director of Business Development at Shurooq, said: "We are eager to strengthen economic cooperation with all countries across the world, including East Asian countries, and we held several meetings with American, German and British parties to discus means of developing relations in various fields with a focus on economy, trade and investment. We highlighted economic growth witnessed in the Emirate, focusing on the retail, renewable energy, tourism, healthcare and logistics sectors and the promising future and great potential for these sectors in the light of the rapid growth in the region, in general, and Sharjah, in particular, as well as the Emirate's solid infrastructure and strategic location. Mohammed Juma Al Musharrakh, Head of Investment Promotion, said the UAE market has become one of the best global markets that yield good financial returns due to flexible investment legislation and rules that allow the investor to set up a business without restrictions. He said the local market has achieved a unique leap, which enhanced investor confidence, after the implementation of giant projects over the past few years. Al Musharrakh said the aim of the visit to Hong Kong and meeting with an elite group of Chinese investors, businessmen and senior officials is to promote investment projects and highlight the emirate's potential investment and attraction as an economic and business destination. Shurooq lauded the efforts exerted by the UAE Embassy in Beijing and the UAE Consulate in Hong Kong in arranging the agenda of the its delegation' meetings and visits, as well as the efforts made by the UAE Foreign Ministry to provide all means of support to Emirati authorities and institutions abroad. Shurooq was established in 2009 with the aim of achieving social, cultural, environmental and economic development on the basis of Sharjah's distinct Arab and Islamic identity, so as to encourage investment by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world. The Authority's main mission is to provide the required facilities and incentives, evaluate investment related infrastructure projects, lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects and to overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the Emirate.