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The United Arab Emirates is a strategic export country valued alongside Germany and China

EASi ja KredExi ühendasutus
17. February 2021
6 min

Author: Ege Devon, Export Advisor EAS

2021 is the year where Dubai will bring World EXPO to the Global forum. This is an incredible opportunity for Estonia to share our digital, innovation and technology across multiple business sectors, to show with pride what we have to offer the world, to develop economic relations and to create new contacts and opportunities.

In December 2021 the United Arab Emirates (hereinafter referred to as the UAE) will celebrate 50 years of independence transitioning a desert landscape into a globally respected economic hub driven by a political strategic vision based on sustainability, innovation, technology and modern science that will form a solid platform for the coming 50 years and beyond.

Like many major events, Dubai was required to take the difficult decision due to COVID-19 and postpone the World Expo. A quiz question in future will be “when did Dubai Expo 2020 take place?”, as the organisers have decided to leave the name unchanged. The World Expo is planned to open on October 1, 2021 where there are three major themes: Opportunity. Mobility. Sustainability.


DUBAI, January 14, 2021: Transfer of Expo site now called the Estonia Pavilion. Pictured is Estonian Expo 2020 Chief Commissioner Daniel Shcaer and Dubai Expo 2020 International Partners Director Omar Shehadeh (Photo by Suneesh Sudhakaran/Expo 2020)

The Estonia Pavilion, located in the Mobility District close to the central Al Wasl Plaza, will base its exposition on three themes: digital society, smart solutions and sustainability. Estonia’s blue pavilion will immerse visitors with experiences related to its digital lifestyle.

On 14 January2021, Omar Shehadeh, Chief International Participants Officer, International Participants at Expo 2020 Dubai, presented Estonian Commissioner General Daniel Schaer with a symbolic key to the Estonia Pavilion – the first rented pavilion to be handed over to a participating country.

“We have various interesting elements in our pavilion, an interactive telling of Estonia’s story displayed on mirrored walls enhanced by augmented reality, a 400-sphere light installation representing Estonia’s digital society, sustainable hand-made clay walls, a café with a robot barman/barista and much more,” says Andres Kask, the head of the Estonian Expo 2020 Dubai Pavilion Foundation in describing the pavilion.

Estonia’s participation at the World EXPO represents the largest joint business mission in history, a mix of 37 companies and organisations will participate with the state, as well as the city of Tallinn and Tartu. 

The COVID-19 restrictions and precautions implemented in spring 2020 have borne fruit to enable a controlled and gradual opening to businesses and tourism this has been driven through clear government guidelines. The UAE has made progress in managing the pandemic and has the second highest rate in the world for vaccination. Moreover local businesses have adjusted and are prepared for physical meetings on the basis they take place in non-crowded places and can keep the recommended social distance.

COVID 19 also prompted the UAE to make changes to its legislation to accelerate the economic recovery and make the business environment more attractive to foreign companies. On 1 December 2020, a law was passed allowing foreigners to have a 100% ownership in a company outside the freezone area. It is not in practice yet, however the decision will change the Dubai economic landscape. In addition the UAE aims to increase the interest of investors, entrepreneurs and top professionals in the region. The new system would enable foreigners to live, work and study in the UAE without the need of a national sponsor, this has been done by issuing 10-year long term residential “golden visas” with the option to renew if certain conditions are met, this is under review.

Mid 2020 saw a historic event as the UAE and Israel signed an agreement on normalising relations. Israel’s interest in economic activity in the UAE has been exceptionally high, according to the Khaleej times Dubai’s trade with Israel reached Dh1 billion in value from September 2020 to January 2021. Additionally Israel contributes to Dubai’s desert agriculture through the most advanced technologies. The inaugural UAE-Israel Future Digital Economy Summit was held in early December as part of the Gitex Exhibition.

To the great delight of many local and international companies, the UAE, along with other Gulf States, restored its partnership with Qatar after a period of conflict starting in July 2017, restoring relations will contribute to the growth of economic activity between the two countries. This is also good news for our Estonian companies, who cooperate with both countries.

For Estonian companies, the year 2021 is a huge opportunity for the UAE market.

As an outstanding exception in today’s world on February 21st -25th, Dubai hosts a live, in person food & beverage trade show called Gulfood 2021, this will feature 20 halls packed with diverse products from 85 country pavilions giving limitless opportunities to network with global heads, regional companies plus Michelin-starred chefs.

Estonia is participating for the 4th time with a Government and private joint stand organised by EAS. The attending companies’ feedback about previous Gulfood trade shows has been very positive in terms of the market and opportunities. “The Gulfood Fair has been the most successful of trade fairs for Balsnack LTD in terms number and quality of contacts, as well as the sales realised” confirms Marko Utsar, the company’s export manager.

At the same time in February 21-25, Abu Dhabi the capital of the UAE will host a defence industry trade show called IDEX.  EAS is organizing a joint Government and private stand, where 6 of our most innovative companies will have the opportunity to show the World their innovation and technology of some of the Worlds leading product. Attending in person will facilitate the complex nature of the industry and bring clarity to the opportunity, open and clear communication and the business model. 

I encourage all companies with an interest in the UAE market to take the first steps this year through Estonia’s participation in the World Expo to raise awareness of our country and to create a better platform for cooperation across multiple business sectors. EAS supports companies with a wide range of services to help you gain a better understanding of market and export opportunities. For more details please contact me:

Ege Devon

Chief Representative Officer

Enterprise Estonia GCC

Mob: +971 508381904

E-mail: [email protected]



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