Economic diplomacy is the process of pursuing a country’s commercial interests, both locally and internationally. It involves the use of financial tools and policies to eradicate vices, such as poverty and crime. Fulfilling a country’s economic interests depends on different factors such as the political climate, security, education, and international agreements or conventions. The UAE is located in the Middle East, a region that most terrorist groups such as the al-Qaida hail from. To attract foreign direct investment and tourism, the country must be peaceful and stable, free from violence and political and socioeconomic tension. The UAE can foster good relations with other countries and cooperate in peacekeeping operations to create a favorable trading environment. Trade treaties with as many countries as possible increase the market of UAE exports globally. Education is also another vital sector that determines the level of skills of the country’s labor force, which influences technical efficiency and reliability.
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Peace and Stability
Peace and security are essential elements that encourage both foreign and domestic investors to venture into business activities confidently. No business can take place smoothly in a place marred with violence. Therefore, it is crucial for the UAE government to advocate for, support peace and stability in the UAE, and take part in activities that foster peace between nations. One way of promoting peace in the UAE is to uphold justice in the judiciary and participate in international peacekeeping endeavors among countries. Although the UAE set a principle that discourages interference with the domestic issues of other nations, the country is fully committed to actively support other countries and international organizations such as the United Nations (UN) in their bid to bring peace and stability in foreign territories (Embassy of the United Arab Emirates n.p). In so doing, the UAE will be reinforcing the order of international law and employing international agreements to safeguard everyone’s interests irrespective of their socioeconomic classes. This is in accordance with the principles of economic diplomacy, which seeks to reduce poverty and provide equitable education and health services for everyone.
The UAE is in a strategic geographical location in the Arabian Gulf, which is a quarter of the world’s oil (EUAE n.p). This makes the UAE a country that must be keen on foreign and domestic diplomacy since it has to export its oil to other countries. The UAE, at the moment, offers the European Union (EU), United States (US), and NATO troops right of entry to ports and other sections of its territory, air clearance, and additional important logistic help. These countries and organizations depend very much on the UAE’s peace and stability to run their activities. Joining these and other allies in the global war on terrorism was a bold step taken by the UAE to restore peace and stability. However, the UAE should work harder to restore peace and encourage religious liberty. Religious obstructions have, for a long time, interfered with tourists and foreign investors. Some of the religious decrees discourage some types of foods and clothes like pork and scanty clothes. The government can grant freedom of dressing and eating to attract more visitors and investors. Other measures that promote diplomacy include freezing bank accounts of terrorists, implementing serious initiatives that curb money laundering, and enforcing counter-terrorism financial laws and policies.
The UAE is a rapidly expanding economy with a business-friendly environment. The Gross Domestic Production (GDP) was reported to be $419 billion in 2014 (EUAE n.p). This was largely attributed to oil, which accounts for 30% of its total domestic production (EUAE n.p). Although oil production is a lucrative economic activity for the country, there is a need to diversify the economy to avoid overreliance on oil. Among the activities that the state can prioritize to achieve this is investing in tourism, creating domestic policies that encourage foreign visitors and investors, marketing the country globally, promoting the private sector, and investing in education.
Education creates generations of highly trained citizens who will use their knowledge and skills to uplift the country’s economy. The state should provide equitable education opportunities to both males and females. Apart from sending students to study in foreign countries, the UAE government should also focus on attracting international students, not only as a way of getting revenue but as a way of marketing the country globally. This can be achieved through constructing state of the art academic institutions that offer a wide range of courses. Statistics show that the Arab States sent more students to study abroad (300,000) than the number that went to the Arab States for higher learning (250,000) in the year 2013. Western Europe received the highest number of in-bound students who numbered about 1.5 million.
Educating the citizens to give them the knowledge to start their businesses, and also makes them highly skilled so that the country will not have to look for skilled labor from outside. Highly skilled citizens also have the advantage of qualifying for jobs on the international platform. They can successfully work as expatriate employees in other countries. Serious investment in education contributes to the diversification of the economy in which the state will realize the full benefits of international trade by utilizing highly qualified professionals. Executive academic programs can fill the shortage of skilled labor if the program aims to construct a network foundation for economic diplomacy (Wright 4).
To become successful in international trade, the UAE has to strengthen its social and economic relations with its neighbors and as many other countries. This includes expanding the global network through fostering good relationships, opening embassies in many countries, boosting exports, and promoting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and trade. The government can promote foreign investment by formulating policies that encourage foreign trade and upholding existing international conventions and trade treaties. Countries that contribute to the highest number of tourists on short stays can be granted visa exemption if it takes a lot of time to process the visa.
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This strategy can speed up the rate at which foreigners stream. The UAE can also request international organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) for subsidies and incentive packages on its products that do not pose stiff competition to other countries in the global market. Although regional and bilateral trade works well for UAE, it largely depends on the countries’ size and population (Soloaga and Wintersb 4). Therefore, it is better to actively participate in multilateral trade beyond the current level to increase the country’s GDP. This involves forming Free Trade Agreements (FTA) based on equitable market openings, and non-preferential trade agreements like Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) (Soloaga and Wintersb 6).
Economic diplomacy is among the best processes that the UAE can utilize to increase its international trade market share. To succeed in attracting foreign investors and growing exports internationally, the country should actively participate in making the environment conducive for trade by actively taking part in peacekeeping operations around the globe. This will foster good relations with many countries, which the UAE can enter into trade agreements with. The UAE should also invest more in education to increase its labor force skills to produce highly skilled individuals who can perform technical operations.
Embassy of United Arab Emirates. About the UAE, 2017. Web.
Soloaga, Isidro and Alan Wintersb. “Regionalism in the nineties: What effect on trade?” The North American Journal of Economics and Finance 12.1 (2001): 1-29.
Wright Jr, Jerry. Economic Education, Executive Education, and the Training of Commercial Diplomats for the Global Economy, 2000. Web.