The delegation - which was led by Shurooq CEO Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal and which included Elie Armaly, Director of Business Development at Shurooq and Mohammed Juma Al Musharrakh, Head of Investment Promotion at Shurooq - held a series of meetings with officials in charge of a number of economic and investment sectors, as well as with representatives of the tourism, business and investment sectors and government authorities. The meetings were organized in cooperation with the Malaysian Trade Development Office in the UAE. Speaking on the visit, H.E. Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal stated that, in addition to the development of quality projects in Sharjah, Shurooq's mission is to promote the investment opportunities and business strengths of the emirate, encourage and attract investors from all over the world, prepare investment-related studies, and offer the necessary facilities and incentives to local and foreign investors by adopting global best practices and removing obstacles. "This tour is part of Shurooq's business promotion strategy. Sharjah's business attractions, existing investment opportunities, tourism facilities, strategic geographical position, advanced infrastructure, investor-friendly legal framework, and the highly developed transport networks which allow easy access to local and international markets, were all highlighted during the various meetings. The flexibility of investment regulations and the tax free investment scheme in the emirate, as well as Sharjah's modern infrastructure and geographical position, are all elements that were received with a great deal of interest from investors during the talks," he added. Al Sarkal remarked that, according to statistics, the UAE is one of Malaysia's largest trade partners in the GCC –the volume of trade exchange between the two countries reached DH 24.42 billion in 2011, while the total volume of trade exchange between Malaysia and the GCC was DH50.76 billion in the same year. Investments between the UAE and Malaysia stood at DH349 billion ($95 billion) by end of 2011. The Shurooq CEO clarified that despite the remarkable figures and reports on the volume of trade exchange and investment between the two countries, the capacity exists to increase this volume as both the UAE and Malaysia adopts economic openness, both encourages investment and both boasts integrated economies. In addition, mutual confidence exists between the UAE and the Malaysian business and investment communities due to excellent political relations, which means that there is a significant potential for future cooperation. The delegation started its tour in Kuala Lumpur with a meeting at the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), which was attended by Datuk Mohamad Kamarudin, Deputy CEO, Wam Norma Wan, Director of External Relations, Dato Zoulkafli, Director of Export Development, and Emiltone Fazlina and Nour Azaman from the External Relations Department. The delegation introduced the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority "Shurooq", its vision and objectives. The parties then discussed the importance of developing mutual cooperation and ways of boosting Malaysian corporate investment in Sharjah in order to benefit from the vast number of opportunities across various vital sectors generated by the future development plans and projects currently underway in the emirate. During the meeting the delegation highlighted the dynamic business environment - which exists due to the market oriented economy, government incentives to industrial and business activities and the availability of ideal requirements for growth and for making returns on investment in Sharjah –to investors in Sharjah. The emirate's ultra-modern infrastructure and transport network, tax policies, skilled workforce and political stability was also emphasized. Kamarudin stressed Malaysia's keenness to strengthen its trade relations with the UAE, in general, and Sharjah, in particular, pointing to the strong relations that exist between governments of the two countries and highlighting the need to benefit from opportunities by forging more business partnerships that will serve the interests of both parties. The delegation also met with directors of the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board. The meeting was attended by Azizan Nour Al Din, Deputy CEO, Mohammed Abdul Rahim, Head of International Marketing, a number of the board's officials, as well as representatives from the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism. The meeting was followed by another with Mr. Tim Sao, Director of Kuala Lumpur Investment, and a number of the corporation's senior officials. Ways of bilateral promotion and cooperation, and strengthening communication between tourism agencies and investors in Kuala Lumpur and Sharjah, were discussed during the meeting. Balkis Aziz, Director of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, emphasized the depth of economic ties between Malaysia and the UAE, in general, and Sharjah, in particular. The statement was made during a meeting with Shurooq's delegation, which was attended by Mohammed Abkari, Deputy CEO of External Investment Promotion. Aziz said that excellent bilateral relations have existed between the two countries for many years, and that this strong relationship is of a great interest to the leadership of both countries. These excellent relations have borne fruit through a number of agreements and initiatives that have helped the exchange of investments between companies and businesses in both countries. The Malaysian Investment Development Authority expressed a keen interest in cooperating with Shurooq, and called for the organization and exchange of visits and trips between the two countries, and for research into Malaysian firms that are interested in expanding to the GCC and Middle East region. They expressed the hope that mutual cooperation agreements will be signed in the near future to further boost the business relationship between the two countries. The tour further included a number of meetings with private firms operating in the transport, air cargo, logistics, healthcare, renewed energy and environment sectors. Shurooq's delegation presented the current condition of each of these sectors in Sharjah, and the future prospects according to recent studies and current indicators, over four days. They discussed the possibility of providing strategic partnerships with government sectors or private firms operating in the emirate, and the facilities that could be provided by the authority and other government departments. Shurooq's delegation showcased the great potential that exists in the UAE and Sharjah, and highlighted the existing investment and business opportunities for those seeking to invest in the UAE, which is widely considered as one of the main business and financial hubs in the region and the world. The delegation presented their mission and the goal of this promotional tour to H.E. Nasser Al Aboudi, UAE Ambassador to Malaysia, who commended the efforts exerted by Shurooq in developing and supporting Sharjah's economy and reflecting the positive image of the UAE and Sharjah to international communities. The delegation extended their thanks to the ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps in Malaysia for their support during the tour, lauding the efforts made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in providing all forms of support and assistance to the UAE authorities and departments during their visit. The UAE and Malaysia signed an economic and technical cooperation agreement in 1975. An important Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between Mubadala Aerospace and Malaysia's National Aerospace and Defence Industries. There are currently 150 Malaysian companies and 38 trading agencies registered in the UAE. 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, and to encourage investment by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world. Shurooq's key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the emirate, evaluate tourism-related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects.