United Arab Emirates (UAE)
For the past two generations, the UAE are experiencing an unprecedented transition from a Bedouin and pre-industrial to an urban and technologically advanced modern society and has become one of the richest countries in the world. In 2013, the gross domestic product went up to 3.1% in comparison to 2012. However, this growth is not only owed to the oil market. The UAE also focuses on a consistent development of other sectors, such as logistics and transports, organizing exhibitions, but also financial services, trade and tourism. Thanks to its convenient location, the UAE especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi have become the hub of international air transport. The UAE provides enormous possibilities for all types of companies to make exports into the UAE.
Dubai is considered to be the third most important re-exporter next to Singapore and Hong Kong. Thus, the UAE is one of the most important trading partners for Germany. In April 2004, Germany and the UAE established a strategic partnership. German vehicles and equipment (29.3% of total German exports goods) constitute the main part of German exports. Main import goods from the UAE are among others Aluminum (alloys) and equipment for electricity generation and distribution.
The German Emirati Joint Council for Industry & Commerce (AHK) – though being licensed and being operative primarily on the federal level of the UAE as a whole – is also taking into consideration the constitutional framework of the UAE as an union of several single Emirates, each having its own history, its particularities and its own constituency. The AHK has therefore – in addition to the “federal issues ” – to take care of the concerns of the local communities on the level of the individual Emirate within the UAE.
Organization of the Local Chapters
The AHK considers it as one of its most important tasks to take care of the interests of its members also on the local level and to develop a diversified range of activities, programs and projects for the communities (the Emirati Community, the German Community) on the level of the individual Emirate, by discussing with the local governments and authorities, taking care of community programs, projects, supporting community institutions (i.e. German Schools, a German cultural institute, other German governmental or non-governmental agencies and institutions) as well as organizing cultural and social events and networking and familiarizing among and between the communities. Therefore, the particular German community should feel home and feel being taken care under the umbrella of the AHK.
At the same time the AHK shall pave the way and build bridges to the local community and society and other foreign communities in the particular Emirate in order to contribute to create strong and sustainable bonds between the communities.
The Local Chapter shall also take care of social and cultural projects and events and link it to the enterprises and companies (corporate culture, corporate social responsibility, sponsoring etc.) active in UAE-German business.
The Local Chapter will also elaborate and monitor the “USP” and the comparative edges of the particular Emirate within the UAE and will develop activities, projects and programs accordingly.
Membership in a Local Chapter
Alongside the membership on the federal level, AHK groups and administers its members also automatically on the basis of its location in the respective Emirates, that is, a members with its main location being seated in Abu Dhabi is considered as a born member of the Abu Dhabi Chapter, a member with its main location in Dubai is considered as a born member of the Dubai Chapter, etc.
Consequently any AHK Member, which has its location in a specific Emirate, can apply for participation in the Chapter of this specific Emirate. AHK members, which have their main location in one Emirate, can also apply for participation in the Chapter of another Emirate, if they have a subsidiary there or can prove a special commercial interest and activities there.
The Board of Directors appoints from among its members or from among the members of the Board of Trustees a personality, who will be the Chair of the Local Chapter. As for other procedural questions like membership, organization and administration of local chapters, the aforementioned rules for Committees shall be applied, if appropriate, in analogy.
The AHK Chapter Ras Al Khaimah was officially established on 10th of June 2010.
Objectives of the RAK Chapter
The Local Chapter represents the interests of AHK members based in Ras Al Khaimah within the organization and – in accordance with the CEO and the Board of Directors of AHK – externally towards local authorities and institutions. Another task of the RAK Chapter is to promote Ras Al Khaimah as a destination for German investors (e.g. by inviting economic delegations from Germany or by organizing information events and excursions for AHK members based in the other emirates, etc.) and to organize activities for the German community in RAK (e.g. German lessons for children, a monthly regular get-together, social and information events as well as online file-sharing networks and forums). Besides business-related activities, the RAK Chapter will also focus on cultural, social and community building activities and events.
The Sharjah Chapter of AHK was formally established on June 11th 2012 during a business and networking luncheon at Al Qasba organized in collaboration with Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and Hamriyah Free Zone.
The event was attended by a number of eminent speakers including H.E. Klaus HD Ranner, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Dubai, H.E. Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Shurooq CEO, H.E. Hussain Mohammed Al Mahmoudi, Director General of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Humaid Al Khatiri, Commercial Director of Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone), Dr. Peter Göpfrich, AHK CEO, and Mr. Martin Böll, Bureau Chief, Germany Trade & Invest Dubai.
The Emirate of Sharjah has accumulated quite a lot of “stakes” in business exchange between Germany and the UAE and has attracted a number of investors from Germany (direct subsidiaries of German companies as well as Sharjah-based local companies with business links to Germany).The aim of the Sharjah Chapter is to tighten the relationship with the Emirate of Sharjah and to connect all existing AHK members as well as all other German companies based in Sharjah, local authorities and Emirati businesses interested in cooperation with German companies.One of the main focuses will be the tight collaboration with local authorities and organizations such as the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) as well as the two free zones based in the Emirate, Hamriyah Free Zone Authority and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF-Zone).Also the German School in Sharjah will be in the focus of care by the Sharjah Chapter.