The UAE Economy Ministry expects the country’s economy to achieve gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 4.5 per cent in 2013, MEED’s Abu Dhabi Conference 2013 was told on 9 December.

Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz al-Shehhi, undersecretary, UAE Economy Ministry, said the 4.4 per cent GDP growth achieved in 2012 was the fastest rate of growth recorded in the UAE since 2006, and expected the growth to increase to 4.5 per cent in 2013.

Al-Shehhi said investment in infrastructure and the country’s business environment had facilitated the growth.

“We have invested in physical infrastructure and competitive business environment to lay foundations of the economy for long-term growth,” said Al-Shehhi. “Our efforts are bearing fruit – our country has consistently moved up the economic rankings.”

Al-Shehhi said the UAE continued to increase its position and role in international trade, and that the federation remains the biggest export market in the Middle East for the powerful Western economies, the US and UK. He added that UAE trade with China had risen “fivefold” in the past 10 years. The UAE’s growing international trading position was due to the government’s determination to push ahead with business environment reforms, Al-Shehhi told the conference.

“To pave the way for increased FDI [foreign direct investment] inflow, the UAE has been aggressively improving regulations and legislation to improve the business environment for business,” he said.

The ministry’s undersecretary said the proposed new foreign investment law is in the final stages of the legislative process and would further boost the UAE’s economic growth prospects.