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United Arab Emirates

(last updated: 17.01.2020)

The United Arab Emirates recognised the independence of Estonia on 18 September 1991. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on 28 March 2006.

From September 2016 until March 2019, Sultan Rashid Sultan AlKaitoob served as the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Estonia, residing in Stockholm. Currently the Embassy is headed by Chargé d’affaires a.i., Mohamed bin Jasim bin Khalfan Al-Ali. From November 2016 until July 2019, the Ambassador of Estonia to the United Arab Emirates was Sander Soone, residing in Cairo.

In June 2019, Embassy of the Republic of Estonia in Abu Dhabi was established. Official opening of the Embassy will follow in 2020. As first residing Estonian Ambassador, Jaan Reinhold handed over his letters of credence to the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and the Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on September 1, 2019.

10 February 2019, Dubai office of Enterprise Estonia was inaugurated, and is headed by Jukka Hahlanterä.
15 April 2019, the Estonian-UAE parliamentary group was established in the Riigikogu, chaired by Martin Repinski.

Important visits

In June 2009, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, visited Estonia.

In April 2010, Urmas Paet, Minister of Foreign Affairs, met with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, in Tallinn within the framework of an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers.

In April 2011, Urmas Paet, Minister of Foreign Affairs, participated in the meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council, and also bilaterally met with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates.

In May 2014, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves participated in the event “Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms” in Dubai.

In November 2014, President Ilves chaired the meeting of the Global Agenda Council on Cybersecurity of the World Economic Forum and participated in a public discussion related to the future of the internet in Dubai.

In October 2015, Taavi Rõivas, Prime Minister, visited Dubai with a business delegation. During the visit, the Prime Minister and the business delegation participated in the GITEX Technology Week. Furthermore, the Prime Minister bilaterally met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, and with Mohammad Abdullah al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs. A memorandum of cooperation on e-Governance and ICT between Estonia and Dubai was signed.

In October 2015, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves participated in the World Economic Forum in Abu Dhabi.

In February 2017, Margus Tsahkna, Minister of Defence, visited the United Arab Emirates. The Minister of Defence met with Mohammed Bin Ahmad Al Bawardi, Minister of State for Defence of the United Arab Emirates, and participated in the IDEX arms and defence technology fair with Estonian companies engaged in the defence and security industries.

In May 2018, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, visited Estonia. Minister Al Mansoori met with Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson and visited e-Estonia Showroom.

In September 2018, Foreign Minister Sven Mikser met with Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York.

In December 2018,  Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Rene Tammist visited Dubai and met with the Minister of State and Managing Director for the Dubai World Expo 2020 Reem Al-Hashimy.

In February 2019, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas visited Dubai and met with the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, and opened together with the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Rene Tammist the Enterprise Estonia representation in Dubai.

In February 2019, the President Kersti Kaljulaid met with the Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates Reem Al-Hashimy in Addis Abeba.

in March 2019, the Minister of Culture Indrek Saar attended the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. 41 Estonian athletes participated in games in 10 different sports.

In September 2019, the President of the Republic of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid visited the United Arab Emirates, accompanied by large business delegation, comprising of 70 Estonian business representatives. 

Agreements

Estonia and the United Arab Emirates have signed an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and an agreement for the reciprocal promotion and protection of investments. Both agreements entered into force in March 2012.

In September 2018 the Air Services Agreement was signed between Estonia and the United Arab Emirates. Entered into force on 13 January 2020.

Economic relations

Trade

The United Arab Emirates rank as the 37th trading partner for Estonia in 2018.

The primary export products are machinery and equipment and vegetable products. The primary import products are machinery and equipment and chemical products.

Trade between Estonia and United Arab Emirates 2011–2018 (in millions of EUR)

Year

Export

Import

2011

7

2

2012

15

2

2013

9

3

2014

16

4

2015

34

4

2016

35

5

2017

40 8

2018

60.2 9.4

Investments

Direct investments of the United Arab Emirates in Estonia amounted to 193 million euros as of 31 December 2018. Investments comprise mainly in finance and insurance sector. Estonian direct investments in United Arab Emirates have been marked with a negative value as of 31 December 2018.

Economic cooperation

Estonian companies engaged in the defence industry have participated in the IDEX arms and defence technology fairs organised in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. In 2015, five Estonian companies and the Estonian Defence Industry Association were involved in the IDEX fair. In the 2017 fair which was held from 19 February to 23 February, eight Estonian companies engaged in the defence and security industries were represented on Estonia’s stand organised by Enterprise Estonia and the Estonian Cluster for innovation in the Estonian defence and security industries.

In February 2018, Estonian companies participated in the UMEX fair in Abu Dhabi as well as in the Gulfood fair in Dubai.

In May 2018 a delegation of the Chamber of Commerce of Dubai visited Estonia.

Väino Reinart, Undersecretary for Economic and Development Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, visited the United Arab Emirates with a business delegation from 16 January to 18 January 2017, during which he met with Reem Ebrahim Al-Hashimy, the Minister of State for International Cooperation, and with Younis Haji Al-Khoori, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance of the United Arab Emirates. In the meetings, the further promotion of the economic relationships between Estonia and the United Arab Emirates as well potential e-Governance cooperation in third countries were discussed.

Tourism

Based on the data of Eesti Pank, Estonians visited the United Arab Emirates more than 10,000 times in 2018. Residents of the United Arab Emirates visited Estonia in 2018 about 800 times.

Estonians in the United Arab Emirates

In 2014, Estonians residing on the Arabian Peninsula founded the Estonian Association of the Arabian Peninsula.

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