United Arab Emirates – Effective September 1, 2022, Axel Barrot has been appointed as the new French Trade Commissioner of the United Arab Emirates and Regional Director at the head of the national agency to support the international development of the French economy “Business France Middle East ” “From his new position, he will lead the expansion of French companies in the Middle East through a strategy for export development, as well as the implementation of a new business plan for the coming years in terms of supporting Middle Eastern investors who want to invest in France.
In his mission to lead French commercial expansion in the UAE and the Middle East region, Barrow will be supported by a regional team of 60 experts dedicated to identifying and delivering high-end French solutions to the local market, as well as promoting France as the first destination for foreign investment and the forefront of support for willing regional investors. In exploring the French market. From its regional headquarters in Dubai-based Business France, its assignments will include 12 countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq, as well as Jordan and Lebanon through local partners.
This appointment came at a time when trade relations between regional stakeholders and France were at their peak in terms of both exports and investment, as highlighted by recent strategic discussions with GCC countries and high-level official visits. In fact, French economic relations in the region are steadily progressing, and Expo 2020 Dubai has contributed to the formation of this new momentum, as Business France, during this international exhibition held for the first time in the Arab world, organized 28 events in the France pavilion. It supported more than 400 French companies through dedicated trade missions, and was then able to bring together 1,600 economic players through networking sessions.
This is in addition to the strategic contracts signed between France and the UAE to strengthen relations in the defense sector, which amount to $19 billion. and with the State of Qatar, where Total Energy has been selected for an energy partnership in the large North Field in the eastern sector.
“I am very pleased to have been appointed to this key position of French economic diplomacy in a region with increasing potential, and I look forward to working with our regional partners and the French authorities to bring French knowledge and experience to the Middle East to unlock growth opportunities for both French and local investors looking to expand their businesses.
Trade between France and the Middle East will continue to flourish based on mutual interest. We see a strong French economic presence in the leading sectors such as transport, energy, environment, food and infrastructure, and there are many more areas that we are trying to develop and improve, and I am eager to explore all new opportunities for cooperation. “
Business France Middle East aims to promote commercial cooperation with the Middle East to new heights
It is worth noting that during a press conference held on Wednesday, the newly appointed French trade commissioner highlighted the significant achievements of Business France in the region, which represented a major mediator in strengthening trade relations between French companies and regional stakeholders. The latter presented some success stories, such as the event organized in partnership with the Cyber Security Council of the UAE Government, where selected French companies had the opportunity to present their solutions to Emirati players and government agencies set, and organized a technology tour (French Tech) in general in the Middle East. The past that led to a collaboration project between Pascal Quantum Technology and Saudi Aramco to develop quantum computing applications for the energy sector. Other events are also held in the construction, industrial and transport sectors, such as the one organized by Etihad Rail with the aim of connecting innovative small and medium companies with the “Passenger Train Project” to design new solutions in data management systems, cyber security and Interior design .
It is worth noting that the Middle East is a top priority market for France, as many large groups and small and medium-sized companies have taken the UAE as their regional headquarters, especially in the free zones. France is proud of its strong and diversified economic presence in the region in all the main sectors of the regional economy (aeronautics and space, civil and military, luxury goods, energy, sustainable development, urban transport, banking and insurance, hotels, retail, industry. ..). The UAE is home to the largest number of French institutions in the Middle East with approximately 600 subsidiaries employing more than 30,000 people. While, according to the Banque de France, the balance of French direct investment in Saudi Arabia in 2021 amounted to almost 3 billion euros, mainly focused on the energy sector. It represents 25% of French FDI in the Middle East (Qatar 12%, UAE 21%) and there are around 150 French companies in Saudi Arabia and more than 200 in Qatar.
French commissioner with more than 20 years of experience in leading positions in the industrial sector
Axel Barrow has dedicated his entire career to the development of French trade and economy at the international level, where he has successfully transformed trade relations into long-term partnerships. He started his career at the French Insurance Company for Foreign Trade (COFACE) from 1990 to 1994, managing long-term guarantees (contracts and investments). He then joined the Directorate of Foreign Economic Relations (now known as the General Directorate of Treasury) of the French Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry (from 1994 to 2004). He also held several senior positions in the central administration of the Ministry (Near and Middle East Office) as well as in the Ministry’s offices abroad (in Lebanon and Poland). In 2004, Axel joined Business France and first served as Managing Director of the agency’s branch office in Marseille (from 2004 to
2008), and later as country director in Turkey, Canada and South Africa. With more than 20 years of experience in this field, including expertise in public-private partnerships, investment strategy and economic diplomacy, Axel Barrow will be a major contributor to major events in France that will focus on the Middle East regions and unique sector-specific workshops , and B2B meeting to accelerate export development strategy along with investments for the next few years.
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