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It’s a wrap! The first virtual trade mission to the Gulf region – United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman has come to an end! Between March 22 and April 1, 140 participants from the Netherlands and 355 participants from the Gulf region took part in 20 webinars, digital information sessions and presentations.

In the kick-off meeting, Minister Sigrid Kaag for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and business leaders Ingrid Thijssen (President of VNO-NCW, the Confederation of Dutch Industry and Employers) and Jacco Vonhof (President of entrepreneurs’ organization MKB-Nederland) emphasized that the Gulf is a priority market for the Netherlands with many economic opportunities. The trade mission offered Dutch entrepreneurs a unique chance to discover these opportunities virtually.

Water, energy and food
Over the past two weeks, a total of 107 Dutch businesses and knowledge institutions have demonstrated the skills and innovations the Netherlands has to address challenges in the Gulf in the area of water, energy and food. In various webinars, they spoke with entrepreneurs and experts from the UAE and Oman about topics such as climate-proof water infrastructure, the energy transition and food security. In-depth sessions highlighted the opportunities that exist in the region for Dutch companies in areas such as wastewater, solar energy and horticulture.

The nexus between water, energy and food is at the core of the multi-annual, public-private strategy of the Netherlands in the Gulf. The participants in the virtual mission have visibly and convincingly given shape and content to this strategy.

Expand network
During the current situation, with travel restrictions due to COVID-19, the online B2Match platform truly offered a valuable alternative for making contacts. More than 300 matchmaking meetings took place between businesses from the Netherlands and the Gulf and the profiles of participants on the B2Match platform have been viewed nearly 10,000 times. Atradius and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO informed Dutch entrepreneurs about the (financial) support they offer to do international business.

Expo 2020 Dubai
The grand finale of the mission on April 1st was an ‘Expo talk’ in which participants looked ahead to Expo 2020 Dubai. Under the leadership of moderator Ingrid Thijssen, Expo ambassadors – Ahmed Aboutaleb (Mayor of the city of Rotterdam), Manon Janssen (CEO Ecorys) and Meiny Prins (CEO Priva), discussed the opportunities at the Expo for businesses and knowledge institutions.

Read the full report in Dutch 

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