|Tradition: Artists perform folk songs and dances during a UAE festival. — Photo courtesy of UAE Embassy
On December 2, 2013, the United Arab Emirates marks its National Day, celebrating 42 years since the state was established in 1971. For citizens and expatriate residents of the seven component emirates of the federation, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ra's al-Khaimah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain and Fujairah, it has been a year during which the country has continued to thrive and prosper, despite the political turmoil that has continued to engulf much of the Middle East region.
The economic recovery already visible over the last couple of years has continued to accelerate, with a notable impact on business confidence. Trade, aviation, tourism and retail sectors have seen substantial growth, along with the oil and gas industry, benefiting from high international prices.
UAE's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will touch US$395 billion (Dh1.45 trillion) this year, before growing further to $410 billion next year. The country's GDP has grown more than 200 times from its 1971 level – from $1.77 billion to reach $360 billion in 2012.
The UAE's policy of economic diversification has focused on high-tech industry, logistics, ports, aviation, tourism, financial services, health, education and media, and has created immense opportunities for the construction industry. Another area of development has been in aviation, with both the country's flag-carriers and the main airports reporting growth.
While sectors such as construction, real estate, tourism, trade and service industries continue to represent a growing share of the UAE's GDP, the country's oil and gas industry remains, of course, of enormous importance to the country thanks to the presence of the fourth largest oil and fifth largest gas reserves in the world. Most of those are found in Abu Dhabi, both on and offshore.
The economic and social progress achieved by the United Arab Emirates since it was established, coupled with the tolerance that characterises its way of life has meant that Government has traditionally enjoyed overwhelming support from all of the country's residents, citizens and expatriates alike. That has continued to be displayed, with the UAE continuing to enjoy enviable stability.
During the process of development over the last four decades, UAE has achieved high rankings in the global assessment reports i.e. the UAE was ranked first among Arab countries and 32nd globally out of 169 countries for Human Development Indicators; ranked first among Arab countries and 26th globally out of 183 countries in the Doing Business Report for 2013. It also ranked as the top country in the Middle East region and occupied 24th place globally in the field of competitiveness, according to a report of the World Economic Forum for the year 2012-2013, covering 144 countries; ranked 2nd for foreign direct investment and technology transfer; ranked 4th for high quality of infrastructure; ranked 3rd for aviation infrastructure.
These achievements have made UAE become as an ideal place for investment, commerce, tourism and employment promotion. This year, we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Viet Nam.
Over the past two decades, we have been delighted to witness the fine relationship between the two nations consolidate and diversify through high ranking visits, business delegation as well as signing various agreements and MoU between the two countries that reflected the huge potential for our partnership. At present, UAE is one of Viet Nam's most important partners in the Middle East.
Recently, Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways have already operated direct flights between Dubai-HCM City and Abu Dhabi-HCM City on daily service that has contributed further to the development of trade, investment, tourism and transportation between the two countries.
For our bilateral trade, we are hugely impressed with the bilateral trade volume that has rapidly increased year-on-year and reached $3.3 billion during the first nine months of 2013, predicted to reach over $4 billion for the whole year 2013. UAE is currently Viet Nam's largest trading partner in Western Asia and its 7th largest export market overall. UAE's investment into Viet Nam estimated nearly $3 billion. Meanwhile, UAE businesses and companies recruit a large number of Vietnamese employees – who play a major role in the development of the UAE – and look forward to increasing that figure in the near future.
There are many potential opportunities for the two countries to boost information exchanges and co-operation on technology, science, education, training, tourism... Such co-operative efforts will bring practical benefits for the two countries, helping them to overcome the negative effects of the global economic crisis as well as challenges arising from globalisation. — VNS