Leaders from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry spoke in favor of increased partnership between the UAE and west Asian and Balkan countries during the first-ever Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Global Business Forum last month.
Dubai Chamber President and CEO Hamad Buamim, flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith and Dubai Holding Head of Tourism and Hospitality Gerard Lawless conducted a panel discussion focused on demonstrating the importance of diversified, tech-savvy economies that are well linked through established trade routes.
While trade actively moves west to east through CIS countries, panel members advocated for increased north-south trade as well, citing UAE's high-demand for agricultural products as just one example of a need CIS countries could help meet.
“The UAE was ahead of the game in being one of the first countries to recognize the importance of establishing links with the CIS," Al Ghaith said. "The GCC and CIS countries share several similarities, and Dubai can be a valuable partner to the CIS, having successfully diversified away from oil."
Chamber officials highlighted the organization's new office in Baku, Azerbaijan, as a step in the right direction, while calling for a streamlining and easing visa regulations to allow free travel between Gulf countries and the CIS block.
The Commonwealth of Independent States includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Moldova and Kyrgyzstan.