Registrations to be part of the business delegation that will accompany agriculture and rural development Commissioner Phil Hogan in his high-level mission to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are now opened. The visit, happening in February 2019, aims to facilitate European agricultural food and drink exports to the UAE, while building on and profiting from existing presence of European agri-food products on the Emirati market.

The UAE is the EU's 13th biggest export market for agri-food products, the value of which reached €2,953 million in 2017. The UAE is a high-income country with a growing and diversified population. As a net food-importer and an entry point to other Gulf countries and Middle Eastern and North African markets, it offers many opportunities for European agri-food producers.

A key element of the UAE visit, the Gulfood 2019 fair in Dubai is the world's largest food and beverages trade show. The EU will be present with its own pavilion, and focus on activities complementing EU member states' presence at the fair. Its 2018 edition attracted 98,000 visitors and 5,000 exhibitors from over 180 countries. It is expected that a majority of EU Member States will be represented with national pavilions in the 2019 edition.

In this context, the objective of the business delegation visit is to give the opportunity to the accompanying European representatives to meet not only potential partners from the local market but also representatives of the agri-food sector from the whole region. Activities for the business delegates will include seminars on the local market’s characteristics and consumer trends, retail and site visits, networking opportunities and a visit to Gulfood. The programme of activities for the business delegates will take place in Dubai from 16 to 19 February 2019. Travel and accommodation costs have to be covered by participants whereas all business events included in the official programme will be offered free of charge.

The registration for interested applicants is now open. The deadline to apply is 18 December 2018.