Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development,Trade and Employment,paid an official visit to the UAE on March 3rdto discuss the strengthening of bilateral economic and business relations.
High on the agenda was Canada’s desire for companies from Ontario to invest in major UAE infrastructure projects. The Minister also chose to use the official visit to promote the province of Ontario as a location for investment by Gulf-region investment organizations. The mission is part of Ontario’s Going Global Trade Strategy.
During his stay, Minister Hoskins visited Abu Dhabi and Dubai, meeting with Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, to discuss how to increase bilateral relations between Ontario and the UAE. The minister also visited the Ministry of Economy to discuss the strategic partnerships between SMEs in the UAE and Ontario. They also discussed how to encourage Canadian high-growth start-ups to expand in to foreign markets, whilst exploring how the UAE Ministry of Economy and its private sector partners can gain access to investment opportunities in Canada.
Minister Hoskins also met with senior portfolio managers from Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).
Ontario’s strengths were highlighted during the meetings. In particular, the discussions focused on the province’s expertise in engineering and architectural services, construction management and technologies and urban planning – all areas that are vibrant and expanding in the UAE.
Minister Hoskins said: “I’m delighted tobe visiting the UAEand by bolstering economic ties and business partnerships between Ontario and the UAE we hope to see mutual benefits.The Gulf region is a priority market for Ontario’s export development and an important source of investment into the province. There are also a number of key industries and sectors which Ontario is well placed to invest in, which will aid the UAE’s impressive growth whilst diversifying Ontario’s business profile.”
He added: “The UAE is a developing market with significant investment in the creation of new cities,
renewable energy (solar and nuclear), tourism projects, hospitals, schools, water and transportation – all
of which represent major opportunities for Ontario companies.”
Hoskins also met with the Canadian Ambassador to the UAE, His Excellency Arif Lalani, to discuss how Ontario can be a key source of competitive goods and a valued service provider to the UAE. Hoskins expressed Ontario’s desire to increase bilateral trade volume and investments and to discuss further promotion of Ontario’s profile in the Gulf region.
“I am very pleased that Minister Hoskins has chosen to visit the UAE at a time when Canada-UAE relations are stronger than ever” stated Ambassador Lalani.
“His visit also supports our focus on the UAE as a priority country for Canada in our Global Markets Action Plan.”
The visit is indicative of the strengthening of economic ties between the UAE and Ontario. The number of meetings held during Minister Hoskins’ visit highlights the common areas that Ontario and the UAE share.It also served to highlight specific sectors where the development of existing relationships and the forging of new ones would be mutually beneficial.
During his visit to the Gulf, the Minister also visited Doha, strengthening bonds between Ontario and Qatar.