Commissioner Phil Hogan visited the United Arab Emirates from 16 to 19 February 2019, accompanied by a business delegation of senior representatives from the European agri-food sector. The purpose of this visit was to facilitate European agricultural food and beverage exports to the UAE, while building on and profiting from existing presence of European agri-food products on the Emirati market.
The UAE is the EU's 13th biggest export market for agri-food products, the value of which reached 2,953 million EUR in 2017 and is a high-income country with growing and diversified population. As a net food-importer and an entry point to other GCC and MENA markets it offers many opportunities for European agri-food producers in the Gulf region and beyond.
An important element of the visit to the UAE was the opening of the Gulfood 2019 fair in Dubai, where the EU was present with its own pavilion, focused on activities complementing EU Member States' presence at the fair. The Gulfood is the world's largest food and beverages trade show - its 2019 edition attracted 98,000 visitors and over 4200 exhibitors from over 198 countries.
In this context, the objective of the business delegation visit was to give the opportunity to the accompanying European producers’ representatives to meet not only potential partners from the local market but also representatives of the agri-food sector from the whole region. A market intelligence-focused programme of activities was held for the business delegates and included seminars on the characteristics of the local market and consumer trends, retail and site visits, networking opportunities and a visit to Gulfood.