Protectionist policies impede investments and undermines growth of the global economy, said the UAE Minister of Economy, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri.
Speaking at the seventh iteration of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), the world’s largest gathering on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which was held under the theme of ‘Global Investment, Path to Competitiveness and Development’, Al Mansouri said that long-term global economic growth depended on having free markets and open policies that encourage trade and sustainable growth.
"Protectionist policies and other government regulations on trade have always served short-term objectives, however, their long-term implications are always negative," said Al-Mansouri, adding, “This gathering of participants from around the world at AIM underlines the importance of FDI and its contribution to the development of both FDI receiving and exporting economies.”
Pointing to several international reports that have ranked the UAE highly for its competitiveness and investment attractiveness, the minister said, “Our country and its strategic Vision 2021 plan have helped to make us a regional and global center for investment and business. In addition, the UAE is also a major source for investment outflows to countries around the world.”
"Our competitiveness was not achieved by chance, but through determination and hard work. Achieving it also required a clear vision of leadership, strategies, continuous follow-up, learning and benefiting from the experiences of other countries, and through interaction and cooperation of the private sector in building sustainable partnerships. This is what makes the UAE the second largest Arab economy and the most diversified economy in the region," he said.
However, we cannot rest on the laurels gained and need to pay greater attention to the potential gains that can be achieved by improving FDI strategies to increase productivity and further enhance competitiveness said the minister. He underlined the importance of having a clear vision and concrete agendas in order to accomplish the positive outcomes that can be achieved through FDI, such as job creation, skills and knowledge transfer.
The minister said in 2015, global FDI inflows increased by about 40 percent to US$1.8 trillion, but this shrunk to $1.5 trillion in 2016. The decline was more pronounced in emerging markets than in developed economies and added to the challenges already faced by these markets in attracting FDI.
"Today, the world is highly interconnected and affected by any changes happening in any part of the world, therefore, causing some societies to stand still and feel unable to cope with these rapid changes. Thus, collective and collaborative efforts between governments and private sectors are essential to overcome the challenges and to build a secure, stable and prosperous future for the citizens of the world to live in," Al-Mansouri said.