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North East to capitalise on 'world?s richest city'

Date 26 Mar 2007

Trade between the North East and the Middle East is set to boom after one of the region’s business membership organisations opened up new links with one of the world’s richest cities last week. The North East Chamber of Commerce has forged an alliance with counterparts in Abu Dhabi to capitalise on a recent increase of trade in the federal capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The agreement will create opportunities that previously have not existed in the emirate state where the importance of trade networks can make or break deals.

James Ramsbotham, NECC chief executive, said: “The Middle East is increasingly becoming a target for companies looking to expand into global markets and Abu Dhabi is pressing to become the hub of all that activity. “Despite the obvious differences, there are tremendous similarities between our two regions. North East England is a region built on a heritage of coal that now has an expanding economy based on a diverse mix of businesses. Abu Dhabi’s rapid growth came from its vast oil assets and yet it is looking to move to a more varied economy. Both areas have similar sized populations and equal numbers of businesses.”

A boost to the trade agreement is the planned launch of direct flights from Newcastle to Dubai by Emirates Airlines in September.

Mohammed Omar Abdullah, director general of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, said: “I hope this will also be a model for other Chambers in the UK. This is an important time for this type of co-operation. “Through our joint co-operation, we will both benefit and so will our members.” 

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