In order to commemorate the opening of its new office, JBIC yesterday launched a symposium entitled ‘Towards the New Business Partnership between Japan and GCC’ at Emirates Towers Hotel in Dubai, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, with the attendance of a large number of Ministers, Ambassadors and high level guests from the GCC countries and Japan.
At the business conference of the symposium, H.E. Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al-Qasimi, Minister of Economy of UAE made a keynote address on the strategy of economic development in the GCC countries and expectation for Japan.
From the view point of Japanese business side, Mr. Fumiaki Watari, Chairman of Committee on Middle East and North Africa in Japan Business Federation, President of Petroleum Association of Japan and Chairman of Nippon Oil made his keynote address. After that, there was a panel discussion amongst top business leaders from the GCC countries and Japan.
The main agenda of the panel is ‘Economic Diversification of the GCC countries and Japanese Contribution’. In the afternoon session, there were congratulatory addresses made by distinguished guests including H.E. Ahmed Bin Abdulnabi Maki, Minister of National Economy of Sultanate of Oman.
Historically, Japan’s economic development has occurred as a result of its progressive trade policies and advanced technologies. However, Japanese growth has been heavily dependent on energy supplies coming from GCC countries. Consequently, it is vital for Japan to maintain a sustainable relationship with the GCC countries and to work toward the stability of the region.
The world economy is currently facing several challenges, including high oil prices, geopolitical risks and biased distribution of investments. Likewise, despite the rapid expansion of the GCC countries economies’ resulting from higher oil revenues, there are still many issues to be solved, such as economic diversification, the development of infrastructure and the problem of unemployment.
In this context, the relationship between the GCC countries and Japan requires a new impetus aimed at nurturing a long-term relationship not only for the purpose of fostering closer links in the field of energy and industry, but also in order to involve people-to-people cooperation at local and regional level. In addition to that, a greater mutual understanding of cultural and social issues could make a significant contribution towards furthering mutual cooperation in various fields, including business partnerships.
Given this background, JBIC established a representative office in Dubai in order to further enhance the development of economic cooperation between the GCC countries and Japan.
JBIC is a Japanese governmental institution established in 1999 by the merger of Export Import Bank of Japan (JEXIM) and Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF). JBIC’s objectives are the promotion of Japanese international trade and investment, the security of Japanese energy supplies, economic assistance for developing countries, and contributions to the stability of the international financial market. JBIC is one of the largest official financial institutions in the world, with total assets amounting to $186,385 million and a capital base of $71,249 million as of March 31, 2006.
Backed by the current booming economic situation in Middle East countries, JBIC’s activities are expanding in this region, and the Middle East now accounts for 28 percent of its total commitments amounts for FY 2005. Since the Japanese economy is heavily dependent on energy supplies from Middle East countries, JBIC is enhancing Japanese oil and gas development in this region.
JBIC is also supporting other industries, such as petrochemicals, fertilizers, and manufacturing, which are contributing to economic diversification in Middle Eastern countries. JBIC would also like to support infrastructure development in the region, notably in the fields of power, water and transport.
JBIC has a variety of financial programs at its disposal, including sovereign loans to host countries, project finance or structured finance-based loans, and corporate loans to Japanese entities. JBIC can provide optimal finance in order to realize a project, mitigating risks through its close relations with host countries and cooperation with multilateral financial institutions and other official or private banks.
JBIC’s Dubai office is the 27th in its global network, and covers the GCC countries, Iran, and Yemen. JBIC hopes to contribute to the expansion of economic relations between Japan and these countries. Nobuyuki Higashi, Chief Representative and Naoki Tamaki, Representative of Dubai Office have been appointed to achieve this mission.
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