Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Grenadines along with other CARICOM countries and the Dominican Republic were invited to participate in the first UAE-Caribbean Cooperation Forum held in Dubai from November 24-26, 2018. The Forum was fully sponsored by the Government of the United Arab Emirates and explored the economic potential of future ties between the United Arab Emirates and the Caribbean. Furthermore, it provided an opportunity for senior business representatives and other high profile delegates to identify emerging drivers for effective partnerships that will yield mutual benefits between the UAE and the Caribbean.
The Forum was centered on the current economic and business related issues and advised on the key strategic directives for future economic growth between both regions. As a result of the Forum, delegates undertook the following:
The development of strategic directives for economic growth and development between the UAE and CARICOM;
The enhancement of networks between key stakeholders from the United Arab Emirates and CARICOM;
The identification of funding opportunities for various projects and programmes; and
The establishment of new business opportunities across the United Arab Emirates and the CARICOM region.
In addition, the various representatives at the Forum discussed topics relating to the role of the private sector in building a connected and competitive future, renewable energy and green innovation: curbing climate change, embracing international cooperation, and the hosting of a successful Expo2020 to be held in Dubai.
The Vincentian delegation was headed by the Hon. Sir Louis Straker, Deputy Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce. Other members of the delegation included the Hon. Camillo Gonsalves, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, Sustainable Development and Information and Technology, Hon. Cecil Mckie, Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture, Mrs. Sandy Peters-Phillips, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce, Mr. Glen Beache, CEO Tourism Authority, Mr. Anthony Regisford, Executive Director of the Chambers of Industry and Commerce, Ms. Shaunelle McKenzie, Culture Ambassador, and Mr. Lance Oliver and Mrs. Ruth Stevens from the business community.
Notably, the visit facilitated the signing of three important agreements that will promote cooperation between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Arab Emirates. The Agreements are as follows:
Agreement between the Government of SVG and the Government of the United Arab Emirates for the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments.
Agreement between the United Arab Emirates and the Government of SVG for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital.
Participation Contract of EXPO Dubai 2020 between the United Arab Emirates and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The conclusion of the aforementioned agreements coupled with the recently concluded visa waiver agreement that was signed in May 2018 provide the mechanism for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to explore and develop initiatives and partnerships with businesses, the tourism and creative industries.
The Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines remains committed to deepening relations with its bilateral partners for the benefit of all Vincentians.