1.- Diplomatic relations
Diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Spain and the State of the United Arab Emirates began in 1972. From this date on bilateral relations have been in constant development thanks to the special interest that the leaders of the two countries grant them. Evidence of this interest in recent years is the support of the UAE to the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative of Spain and Turkey since Her Highness Sheikh Abdallah Bin Zayed assured that the UAE will contribute one million dollars for it, which reinforced the political relations between the two countries. The II Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, sponsored by Spain and Turkey, held in Istanbul on 6 and 7 April 2009 and apart from his meetings Mr. Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, met with the then Minister of Affairs Foreign Miguel Ángel Moratinos in order to request the support of Spain to the UAE file to be the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The bilateral relations have had a remarkable development throughout 2010 in which several high-level visits took place between both countries. These began with the visit of His Majesty Prince Felipe De Borbón to the UAE in January 2010, followed by that of His Majesty Juan Carlos and that of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and that of His Highness Sultan bin Saedi Almansouri, Minister of Economy.
In this sense, it can be said that relations go through their best moment so that it was reflected in all areas of cooperation, especially the economic and commercial one, as the UAE became the main trading partner of Spain in the Arabian Gulf area.
It is worth mentioning that the president of the Spanish government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, has insisted on receiving His Highness Abdullah Bin Zayed during his visit to Spain in December 2010, which is another gesture that shows the relations of friendship and proximity between the two countries.
On the other hand, Spain supported, through the European Union, the UAE's position to resolve the dispute over the occupied Emirati islands through negotiation with Iran within the framework of International Law or through direct negotiation between both sides.
It is expected that the relations between both countries will experience a new advance thanks to the start of daily flights between Madrid and Dubai since August 2010.
2.- Economic and commercial relations
The economic and trade relations between Spain and the UAE have grown exponentially in the last 15 years. In fact, the UAE was the main foreign investor country in Spain in 2009 thanks, mainly, to the purchase of shares in CEPSA by IPIC -International Petroleum Investment Company- worth 3300 million euros. These investments are mainly focused on the oil derivatives industry, as well as construction. The UAE has also become the first destination for Spanish exports in the Middle East and the third destination in the whole of the Arab region, including North Africa. The Emirati exports to Spain in the year 2010 reached 109.2 million euros which is an increase compared to its level in 2009 which was 75.3 million euros. Regarding Spanish exports to the UAE, they reached 776.4 million euros, which represents a drop in their level in 2009, which reached 920.4 million euros. (Source ICEX).
These data assume that the trade balance remains favorable to Spain with a difference of 667.1 million euros taking into account that the industrial technology sector tops the list of exports to the UAE with a total of 140 million euros followed by the sector textile with a total of 135 million euros.
For its part, the Emirati industrial technology sector leads exports to Spain with a total of 50.7 million euros followed by the raw material sector with a total of 24.5 million euros.
Evolution of the trade balance between the two countries over the last few years (euros value):
|Emirati Exports||85.2 million||96.7 million||251 million||75.3 million||109.2 million|
|Spanish exports||823.6 million||872.2 million||1.1 billion||919 million||776.4 million|
3.- Agreements signed between the two countries
- Extradition Agreement between the UAE and Spain.
- Treaty of Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.
- Agreement between UAE and Spain regarding the Transfer of Convicted Persons.
- Agreement of Constitution of a Joint Economic Committee, was initialed in May 2008.
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Dubai Financial Center (DIFC) and Madrid Financial Center (MCF) on September 24, 2010.
- Memorandum of Understanding in the Chamber of Commerce and Commerce of Ajman and its counterpart in Almeria.
- Agreement of Brotherhood between the City council of Ajman and the City council of Almeria.
- Cooperation agreement between Cultural Club and Sports AlAin and Atlético de Madrid.
- Cooperation Agreement between the Ministry of Health and Barraquer Ophthalmology Center.
- Memorandum of Understanding between Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Valencia and Chamber of Commerce of Abu Dhabi.