UAE aims to strengthen bilateral ties with Malaysia through Food Corridor Initiative
17 Jun 2022
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) aims to strengthen its ties with Malaysia through its food corridor initiative, capitalising on the existing bilateral relations between the nations amidst the global disruption in food security.
UAE Assistant Minister for Economic and Trade Affairs, Dr Abdulnasser Alshaali said the Gulf country has begun to focus on the health and food security sectors in light of the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have been trying our best to diversify our food import sources and we will continue to do so in the future.
“I believe this has been working well for us, ensuring that we are not overly reliant on one or two input sources for any of our key commodity imports,” he said, adding that this is an area where Malaysia and the UAE can collaborate, particularly in minimising the effects of increasing export bans globally.
Speaking to Bernama during the UAE economic delegation’s official visit to Malaysia yesterday, he said the UAE had taken a similar step with India, where the Gulf monarchy allocated US$7 billion to invest in the UAE-India food corridor initiative.
To recap, the global market has been impacted by various export bans by nations seeking to conserve supplies to meet their domestic demand.
In December 2021, Argentina and Russia limited the amount of corn and wheat that could be exported in an effort to prevent domestic grain shortages as a result of dwindling domestic food supplies.
Indonesia followed suit in April this year by prohibiting the export of palm oil, and India joined the bandwagon in May when it prohibited the export of wheat.
Meanwhile, commenting on the UAE-Malaysia partnership, Abdulnasser said more business-to-business (B2B) engagement is required to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two nations.
“It is quite easy to have high-level visits between the two governments, such as between the Prime Ministers and so on. However, it is always more challenging to ensure that B2B relationships maintain the same momentum,” he said.
One of the ways to enhance B2B ties is to encourage mutually beneficial visits by business delegations from both countries, where the parties can liaise with those who can and are ready to assist them, be it at the federal level or at the on-the-ground level, he said.
He also emphasised that the existing collaborations between the commercial sectors of both nations can always be expanded.
Last year, trade value between Malaysia and the UAE had doubled to US$5.4 billion, making the UAE Malaysia’s largest trading partner in the Middle East.
Earlier in March, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob made his first official visit to Qatar and the UAE, accompanied by Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
During his visit, the prime minister witnessed the signing and exchange of nine memoranda between Malaysian companies and their international business partners in the UAE.