The Business Year

Nicole Bricq

UAE, ABU DHABI - Diplomacy

Two’s Company

Minister for Foreign Trade, France

Bio

Nicole Bricq was elected to the Ile-de-France Regional Council in 1986, later becoming Chair of its Cultural Committee. From 1988 to 1990, she served as technical adviser to the office of the Minister of Defense. In 1992, she was an adviser on the staff of the Minister for the Environment, responsible for relations with Parliament and local officials. She was elected to Parliament in 1997, becoming a member of the Finance Committee. In September 2004, she was elected to the Senate, representing the same département. Nicole Bricq served as Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, and Energy. In June 2012, she was appointed Minister for Foreign Trade. Bricq holds a Master’s degree in Private Law, and is an expert in public finance and taxation issues.

How do you assess Franco-Emirati trade relations? The UAE and France have strong and confident historical ties. Since the establishment of the Federation, leaders on both sides have cultivated an […]

How do you assess Franco-Emirati trade relations?

The UAE and France have strong and confident historical ties. Since the establishment of the Federation, leaders on both sides have cultivated an exceptional relationship that has strengthened trust and complicity, which benefits our trade and economic relationship. The UAE has become in recent years a strategic economic partner of France in the Middle East. Absorbing ‚¬3.53 billion of our exports, the UAE is our primary commercial market in the Gulf. Our bilateral trade generated a positive balance of ‚¬2.37 billion in 2012, the fourth largest global surplus for our country. Our exports are based on four sectors: food processing, aerospace, electrical and mechanical equipment, and consumer goods, including luxury goods. Our imports are mainly comprised of petroleum products (about 80%). Major French groups have long been established in the UAE and cover a wide variety of sectors, including oil, aviation, banking and insurance, retail, hospitality, and transport. In addition to this, several major projects have been carried out by French companies. Our dynamic bilateral trade relationship is reflected in growing interest from our businesses in the UAE. Today, we count 600 French companies in the country, and their numbers increase steadily by 10% annually. This is a sign of the UAE’s dynamic economy. It also shows the performance of our companies, large and small, where their technologies and know-how meet the expectations of a country in search of the most innovative technologies.

What priorities do you assign to economic cooperation between France and Abu Dhabi?

Regarding our largest commercial market, we hope to maintain the density of our trade by increasing our market share in the country. Due to increasingly fierce foreign competition in the UAE, today more than ever, we must continue to intensify our efforts to strengthen our position in a market that is one of the most dynamic and most creditworthy in the Middle East. First and foremost, it is important that our champions, including Total, GDF Suez, Technip, Veolia, EADS, Airbus, Alstom, Thales, BNP, Société Générale, and Carrefour, successfully position themselves for major equipment programs launched in the emirate: the development of the oil sector and renewable energy, urban transport metro, tram, and bus projects in Abu Dhabi, and civil aviation, particularly in its industrial components. Secondly, it seems to me essential to reinforce the presence of our SMEs, whose expansion in the UAE remains insufficient. Several sectors are profitable for them; in particular, I think hydrocarbons, urban development, food, health, environment, and biotechnology.

To this end, I place great emphasis on concerted actions designed to lend more visibility to our know-how. Thus, in the field of urban development we have launched an initiative that unites the French offer as a whole by creating Vivapolis, a real brand that promotes the French sustainable city, which will help our companies to succeed in the international markets in this sector. Vivapolis brings together more than 80 large and small companies that can provide global solutions to meet all the challenges of intensive urban development.

“Our bilateral trade generated a balance of ‚¬2.37 billion in 2012. “

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