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MOU on Korea-UAE SME Cooperation   

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Korea and the UAE signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) on SME cooperation Dec. 18 in Dubai, paving the way to accelerate sustainable and diversified cooperation between the SMEs of the two countries. The MOU, signed by Kim, Dong-sun, SMBA Administrator and Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Ministry of Economy, stipulates a wide-spectrum of future-oriented and systematic cooperation in the SME sectors. These include exchanges of policies and manpower, technology and joint projects in the finance area.

"We expect that the UAE's abundant capital power and geographical advantage, as 'the gateway for advance into Middle East markets,' commercial practices based on trust, etc. also will create many opportunities for the development of SMEs of the two countries," SMBA Adimistrator Kim said

"This MOU is even more significant in that it includes joint projects in the SME financing field, in particular, which can be substantially helpful for SMEs of the two countries and in complementing government-to-government-oriented cooperation."

UAE Minister of Economy Al Mansouri said that this step is in line with the ministry's keenness to adopt best international practices and the latest technologies needed to advance the performance of the SME sector, which is considered a strategic gateway to the knowledge economy. "The MOU includes exchanges of information on the SME sector including legislation, bi-laws, policies, programs and government-sponsored incentives from government and semi-government entities."

Meanwhile, SMBA Administrator Kim, determined to facilitate venture capital cooperation between Korea and UAE, met UAE finance leaders including Hussain Jasim Al Nowais, Chairman of Khalifa Fund and Stefan Marelid, CIO of Abu Dhabi Investment Council. Khalifa Fund, a corporate body with full financial and administrative independence, has been established to support and develop small & medium enterprises in Abu Dhabi. The investment strategy of the Abu Dhabi Investment Council seeks to achieve superior risk-adjusted returns across the entire capital structure while preserving capital.

The Korean side is seeking to organize a joint investment fund to facilitate enhancement of access to financing for SMEs of the two countries.

In addition, SMBA has provided recommendations to the UAE regarding the definition of an SME, which is needed to facilitate contributions of the SME sector to the knowledge economy.

Regarded as having established a successful model for SME development in Korea, the recommendations are tailored to be convenient to the economic characteristics of each emirate in order to ensure the effectiveness of the definition of SMEs throughout the UAE.

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