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Sweden eyes stronger relations with UAE, supports EU-GCC FTA agreement

WAM - Emirates News Agency

Sweden eyes stronger relations with UAE, supports EU-GCC FTA agreement

By Mahmoud Sulaiman

25 December 2010

WAM STOCKHOLM: Swedish officials have expressed their country’s desire for wider trade and investment relations with the UAE and for a stronger presence in the Gulf country for Swedish businesses seeking to further expand into the whole Gulf region.

"We see many good reasons to deepen our cooperation with the GCC and the UAE through and beyond a Free Trade Agreement," Josa Karre, Desk Officer, Middle East and North Africa Department, Ministry for Foreign Affairs told WAM.

"Sweden warmly supports a conclusion of a free trade agreement between the EU and Gulf Cooperation Council - or GCC, (including the UAE)," Karre added.

Karre further expressed hopes that a Memorandum of Understanding on environment and energy technology and sustainable urban development cooperation will be shortly signed with the UAE.

"A Swedish presence in Masdar City is also under way and will be realised in 2011, with several companies already interested," she stressed adding that a "SymbioCity - Sustainability by Sweden" house is being planned and will be opened shortly.

Karre further expressed Sweden’s appreciation of the "excellent relations with the UAE, with many areas of potential mutual interest and gains to explore for the future." "These (areas) include issues of common concern in the regional context as well as on global challenges such as energy, climate, security, research and development, and many others.

"In this context we hope to see a more frequent exchanges of visits and views between our governments as well as deeper relations in business, academia and other networks," she added.

For his part, Special Advisor to the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Micael Hagman told WAM that the relevant Swedish governmental departments received requests from Swedish businesses seeking assistance in establishing a strong presence in Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City and initiating cooperation in areas such as clean energy, environment and sustainability.

Karre expressed hopes for "broader and deeper future cooperation, where projects such as "SymbioCity - Sustainability by Sweden" play an important role.

"This is a very important platform for Sweden and Swedish knowledge in the area of sustainable planning, environmental technologies. We hope that (Sweden’s) SymbioCity - Sustainability will encourage more Swedish companies to establish in Masdar and to increase cooperation in different fields, research (between companies as well as universities) being one of them. " "Our ambition is that the participating companies look upon Masdar as a quality insurer and that the office also will function as a stepping stone for them in the region," Karre further said.