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UAE is Australia’s largest trading partner in Middle East: Commissioner General McGowan

By Lina Ibrahim

DUBAI, 8th December, 2021 (WAM) – The UAE and Australia enjoy friendly, multi-faceted and rapidly growing relations, said Justin McGowan, Commissioner General of Australia at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The UAE is Australia’s largest trading partner and second-largest source of investment in the Middle East, he said, adding that annual trade between the two countries is valued approximately at AU$9.8 billion (USD7.1 billion).

In a statement to Emirates News Agency (WAM), McGowan pointed out that about 17,000 Australians live in the UAE, and more than 250 Australian companies are based here. "We aim to promote trade and investment between Australia and the UAE as the foundation of long term strategic relations," he said, noting that Australian businesses have already received A$170 million of orders in goods and services during the making of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Located in the Mobility District, Australian pavilion themed ‘Blue Sky Dreaming’, pursues activities around three pillars that include promoting Australian products and services; highlighting the country's innovation, ingenuity, and cultural diversity, and attracting international investment and trade.

This has helped position Australia as a global leader in industry sectors including food and agribusiness, education, advanced manufacturing (including space), resources and energy (including sustainability), healthcare, digital technology, and major infrastructure, McGowan said.

To support its plan, Australian Trade and Investment Commission is hosting a strategic programme of in-person and virtual events connecting Australian business and industry to the UAE and presenting global trade and investment opportunities.

"The key message that we would like to convey to Australians back home is that our participation in Expo 2020 Dubai provides a platform for Australia to pursue economic recovery opportunities, particularly in the sectors and markets most impacted by COVID-19," McGowan said.

Australia Pavilion demonstrates how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people used the stars to navigate the land and map meteorological seasons and how Australians are preserving and protecting their arts, culture, linguistics, and diversity.

As far as visitor experience goes, they are guided through three immersive exhibition spaces. The Welcome Stories section is a mural-lined tunnel, featuring bold installations of contemporary Indigenous art, where visitors receive a warm Australian welcome and discover what life is like in Australia.

Then, the Star Dreaming gallery introduces them to Australia’s First Nations people, descendants of the world’s oldest civilisation, and they discover the dreamtime stories of the stars.

They are then guided into Annika’s Journey, an exhibition space where wall-to-wall video projections captivate visitors with the story of a young girl’s journey throughout Australia and the possibilities of her future. The visitor experience lasts around 24 minutes.

"The UAE is the ideal nation to host the World Expo," McGowan said. It is the gateway to the MENASA region and five billion people can fly in within an 8-hour radius.

"Its open economy, with more than 21 free zones, is a model for other nations and it is the region's leader in the ease of doing business rankings for the ninth year in a row. It has played a significant part in enhancing international cooperation and trade," he said, adding that very few countries in the world have the capability and vision to create what the UAE has done with the Expo 2020 Dubai opportunity.

Australia’s Commissioner-General also lauded UAE’s efforts in leveraging its strength in infrastructure development to come up with a wondrous Expo site and provide the best possible facilities to exhibiting countries.

"The physical infrastructure has been matched by the digital in equal measure. The UAE ranked first among countries with the best electronic infrastructure globally, and 31st for the quality of digital life in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2020 and the connectivity and futuristic virtues of the expo site are proof enough of these rankings," he added.

On 16th January 2020, Burj Khalifa was lit up with #mateshelpmates as a sign of the UAE’s support for Australia's bushfire response. "We were touched by the gesture of the UAE government. We also appreciate the mature response of the UAE government to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that its vaccination rate and percentages are among the highest in the world and new infections among the lowest," McGowan concluded.

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Hamriyah and Deira ports record AED 12.133b in customs declaration value for first nine months of 2023

Dubai Customs plays a crucial role as the frontline defense for community security, consistently advancing its customs centers to safeguard and facilitate maritime trade. H.E. Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs, CEO of
Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, recently visited Creek Customs Center, Deira Port, and Hamriyah Port Customs Center to evaluate progress and oversee ongoing efforts for continuous customs service development. During this visit, several executive directors, department heads, and customs center managers were present.

Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, accompanied by Rashid Al Dhabah Al Suwaidi, Acting Director of Seae Customs Centers Management, conducted inspections at Khor Customs Center, Deira Port, and Hamriyah Port Customs Center. Managers Abdulaziz Ibrahim Al Salman and Majid Salem Al Tawilah provided insights into workflow progress and accomplishments. Over the first nine months of this year, 62,454 customs declarations were processed, totaling AED 12.133 billion, with 19 seizures recorded during the same period. A visit to Hamriyah Port Customs Center showcased an advanced container X-ray inspection device, supporting increased inspection operations.

Subsequently, visits to Khor Customs Center and Deira Port highlighted achievements, including a notable seizure called the “Wheelhouse,” which successfully prevented an attempt to smuggle 243 kilograms of narcotics into the country. Commending customs employees, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih emphasized the pivotal role of maritime customs centers in ensuring community security and facilitating trade. The department collaborates for efficient goods clearance and acknowledges employee efforts
during the COVID-19 pandemic, contributing to the department’s support for global efforts to revive maritime navigation and international trade.

Musabih clarified that the department’s advanced capabilities in monitoring and inspection enable it to keep pace with the UAE’s rapid foreign trade growth. Supporting Dubai’s economic agenda D33, the department aims to double foreign trade and enhance economic partnerships with key global markets. Efforts to boost customs inspector efficiency continue through training courses, ensuring their ability to thwart smuggling attempts. Continuous development of X-ray scanning
devices and the K9 customs dog unit further enhances contraband control achievements. Rasheed Al-Dabah explained that the forthcoming period will witness the advancement of new initiatives and mechanisms in the realm of inspection and examination. These initiatives are grounded in a forward-looking perspective to introduce cutting-edge technologies utilized in examining maritime transport vessels, wooden ships, and ships engaged in fish trade.

He remarked, “Our endeavors are harmonized to enhance performance in sea customs centers, concurrently focusing on bolstering monitoring, tracking, and technical support activities to yield optimal outcomes through continuous and productive collaboration among all specialized teams within the department. The Customs centers in Deira, Al Khor, and
Hamriyah Port Customs Center shoulder their vital responsibilities in safeguarding society and facilitating maritime trade through Dubai Creek and Hamriyah Port, supporting the ongoing growth of the national economy.”

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Dubai Customs Hosts Sharjah Housing Delegation to Strengthen Government Communication Ties

Dubai Customs, represented by the Corporate Communication Department, warmly welcomed a delegation from the Sharjah Housing Department. The purpose of the visit was to familiarize the delegation with the duties and responsibilities of the
Corporate Communication Department and its affiliated divisions. The delegation also aimed to explore the awards received by the department, notably the recognition as the Best Government Communication Team in the Sharjah Government Communication Award for 2023.

Khalil Saqer bin Gharib, Director of Corporate Communication Department, along with department managers, extended a cordial reception to the Sharjah Housing delegation, which included Dr. Ahmed Rashid Al Nuaimi, Director of Government Communication, Nada Sivan, Head of the Public Relations and Events Department, and Hamad Saleh Al Hamadi, Head of
the New Media Department. Bin Gharib highlighted the department’s commitment to strengthening communication with government entities to exchange practical experiences and knowledge. The delegation was briefed on Dubai Customs exceptional performance in customs operations and other facets.

The meeting delved into discussions on potential avenues for collaboration, with the Sharjah Housing delegation. Emphasis was placed on the crucial role played by Dubai Customs’ Corporate Communication Department, customs administrations, and centers in ensuring security and safeguarding society. The delegation was presented with an overview of the department’s working mechanisms, awareness campaigns, events, and activities conducted internally and externally, aligning with Dubai Customs esteemed reputation.

Furthermore, the Sharjah Housing delegation acquired an understanding of the best media practices adopted by the Corporate Communication Department, showcasing its outstanding performance in enhancing knowledge and media dissemination to all partners. This has resulted in the department establishing and fortifying relationships with local and international media
entities. The presentation also encompassed the factors contributing to the department’s receipt of the award for the Best Government Communication Team in the Sharjah Government Communication Award.

Dr. Ahmed Rashid Al Nuaimi, Director of Government Communication at Sharjah Housing, expressed appreciation for the efforts of Dubai Customs Corporate Communication Department, acknowledging its excellence and significant contribution to enhancing the department’s standing. Dr. Al Nuaimi affirmed Sharjah Housing’s commitment to fostering ongoing visits and meetings with Dubai Customs, aiming to achieve the highest level of coordination and benefit from the Corporate Communication Departmen’s experience in securing numerous local and international awards.

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Zayed Sustainability Prize opens submissions for 2025 cycle

The Zayed Sustainability Prize, the UAE’s pioneering global sustainability and humanitarian award, has officially announced that the 2025 cycle is now open for submissions.  Submissions will be accepted until 23 June 2024 through the Prize’s online portal. Small to medium enterprises (SMEs), nonprofit organisations (NPOs) and high schools with sustainable solutions are invited to submit an entry for consideration in one of the six categories of Heath, Food, Energy, Water, Climate Action and Global High Schools. Commenting on the launch of the 2025 submissions cycle, H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, and COP28 President, said: “Since 2008, the
Zayed Sustainability Prize has honoured the legacy of Sheikh Zayed by fostering inclusive sustainable and humanitarian development around the world. In this decisive decade for climate change, these values are more important than ever. I am optimistic that the Prize will contribute to global climate action in line with the UAE Consensus, which will pave the
way toward an effective response to the Global Stocktake decision.” In response to the pressing climate crisis, and to further support the UAE’s efforts to accelerate practical solutions needed to drive climate action and uplift vulnerable communities around the world, the Prize has increased its funds from US $3.6 million to US $5.9 million. The Prize will reward US $1 million to each winner in the organisational categories of Health, Food, Energy, Water and Climate Action. Within the Global High Schools category, which is split into six world regions, each school can claim up to US $150,000 to start or further expand their project. The six world regions of the Global High Schools category are The Americas, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Sub- Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia and Pacific. The most recent Zayed Sustainability Prize winners were recognised at an Awards Ceremony held during COP28 UAE. To encourage a broader range of organisations and high schools to participate, the Prize will be accepting submissions in multiple languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese. This will ensure that innovative solutions from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds can be recognised. For the Health, Food, Energy, Water and Climate Action categories, organisations should prove that they are improving access to essential products or services in their targeted communities and are able to implement a long-term vision for better living and working conditions. For the Global High Schools category, projects should be led by students, and must demonstrate innovative approaches to address sustainability challenges. The evaluation of each submission to the Prize consists of a rigorous, three-stage process. First, due diligence is conducted on all submissions to ensure that they meet the Prize’s evaluation criteria of Impact, Innovation, and Inspiration. This identifies the qualified entries and results in the selection of eligible candidates. Following this, evaluations are undertaken by a Selection Committee consisting of category-specific panels of independent international experts. From this shortlist of candidates, the finalists are chosen and then sent to the Prize Jury who unanimously elect the winners across all six categories.   Winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize will be announced at an Awards Ceremony during the 2025 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).

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