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Sharjah-Malaysia Business Roundtable strengthens economic and cultural ties, with plans to double businesses in the emirate

Today (February 8), the Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah) — in collaboration with the Consulate of Malaysia and the Malaysian Business Council — conducted the ‘Sharjah-Malaysia Business Roundtable’ at the House of Wisdom, convening Chairmen and CEOs of influential entities in Sharjah, along with diplomats, Malaysian delegates, and representatives.

The primary objective of the roundtable was to strengthen the existing ties of culture and trade between Sharjah and Malaysia, providing a platform to discuss the current market dynamics, strategic approaches, inherent advantages, as well as the promising investment opportunities available for both parties. During the event, goals were announced to double the number of Malaysian businesses in the emirate while reinforcing the commitment to building mutually beneficial relationships and exploring avenues for collaboration and growth.

Exploring avenues to strengthen relations

His Excellency Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) opened the day’s proceedings with a keynote address, followed by a speech by HE. Mohd Fadly Amri Aliaman – Consul General of Malaysia to Dubai. In his address, the CEO of Shurooq expressed the importance of roundtable discussions in bringing together leaders from key institutions, authorities, and industries in Sharjah and Malaysia.

Al Qaseer noted that such gatherings build upon existing relations and explore avenues to strengthen them through additional partnerships and investments. Highlighting the close relations between Sharjah and Malaysia.

Divulging further details into trade relations between Malaysia, the UAE, and Sharjah specifically, Al Qaseer said, “The UAE stands as the primary trade partner for Malaysia. In 2023 alone, trade volumes between Sharjah and Malaysia reached $94.1 million. Globally, the UAE holds the position of Malaysia’s 17th trade partner globally, representing a significant 32% of Malaysia’s trade with Arab countries.”

Diverse economy and promising opportunities

The roundtable activities comprised a panel discussion, featuring HE Mohamed Al Musharrkh, CEO of Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah); HE Fahmy Ansara Dahalan, Chairman of the Malaysian Business Council in the UAE, and HE Mohamed Al Rais, Executive Director at Al Rais Travel & Shipping Agencies Group.

Intersection of developmental vision

HE Mohamed Al Musharrkh underscored that the support and services provided by Sharjah play a pivotal role in the UAE’s economy, as the strategic location and diverse free zones, cultural and developmental standing attract investors specialised in a variety of sectors from different countries. He pointed out that this role contributed to turning the UAE into Malaysia’s second largest trade partner in the region and that through collaboration with their Malaysian counterparts, they aimed to double the number of Malaysian businesses in Sharjah.

“Exceptional relations bring us together with Malaysia, and we are working closely with the Malaysian Business Council to attract Malaysian enterprises and facilitate investment exchange between the UAE and Malaysia, valued at around AED1.4 billion, which has made Malaysia a strategic partner of Sharjah and the UAE alike,” Al Musharrkh added.

He expressed optimism about collaboration, especially within the Islamic financial sector and mentioned the recently established direct flight between Sharjah and Malaysia, stating, “The recent addition of a direct flight between Sharjah and Malaysia will greatly encourage commerce and tourism between our two locations.”

Al Musharrkh also outlined the collaborative focus on various sectors, including tourism, advanced light manufacturing like robotics, logistics, healthcare, human capital, and innovation through renowned universities in University City. Al Musharrkh stated that he expects significant growth in these areas in the near future.

Growth, resilience, and stability

HE Fahmy Ansara, Chairman of the Malaysian Business Council in the UAE, expressed his gratitude to Invest in Sharjah for organising the roundtable, stating that it contributes to furthering the trade and cultural relations between Sharjah and Malaysia. “The advanced regulatory and legislative environment in the UAE and the Emirate of Sharjah has encouraged Malaysian companies to expand into the Emirati markets. These companies have managed to achieve impressive growth and demonstrated stability, underscoring the anticipation of further expansion in the upcoming phase,” said Ansara.

“This is attributed to many factors, such as the diversity of industries, the expansion into modern technology sectors within the UAE, as well as the strategic location that serves as a gateway to key markets across the region and the world. These factors will undoubtedly motivate more innovators and founders to establish their businesses here, and enhance their partnerships with local counterparts,” he added.

Strengthening the connection between Sharjah and Maylasia

During the session, HE Mohamed Al Rais, Executive Director at Al Rais Travel & Shipping Agencies Group, commented on the increased impact of tourism in fostering economic ties and investment in the UAE. He stated, “Tourism naturally brings more residents to the UAE and that leads to more foreign businesses and investment within the nation. We are actively working on increasing tourism and commerce between Malaysia and Sharjah.” Highlighting the existing strong connection between the two locations, Al Rais acknowledged the prevalent use of connecting flights to Malaysia.

Attractive business environment

The roundtable saw a showcase of success stories of UAE-based Malaysian companies, including Chulia Middle East, GISB Holdings, IACS International, and Ever Sendai, who praised the supportive business environment in the UAE. They highlighted advantages such as the ease of business establishment, advanced infrastructure, a diverse economy, strategic location, and a skilled workforce.

The Sharjah Business Roundtable, organised by the Sharjah FDI Office, is an annual event that invites a different guest nation each year to explore mutual economic interests, aiming to enhance Sharjah’s global economic position and promote it as an ideal destination for investment, business, and trade exchanges.

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