Multi-Nation Business Continuity Task Force

Business to Government Discussion Platform in Response to Global Impact of COVID-19

Dubai-UAE: 15 June, 2020 - In response to the global impact of COVID-19 and its pressures on the international business landscape, including here in the United Arab Emirates, a multi-nation group of business councils and chambers based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have joined forces to engage with the UAE government and work collectively to ensure business continuity in the UAE.

Initiated by AmCham Dubai and AmCham Abu Dhabi to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Multi-nation Business Continuity Task Force aims to gauge sentiment, assess business continuity challenges and support the wider business community on specifics that require UAE government assistance. The task force will provide a channel of communication for its members and is committed to supporting members on an individual basis where possible, in addition to presenting common strategic themes at the government level.

Co-Secretariat members AmCham Dubai and AmCham Abu Dhabi, task force members; the German-Emirati Joint Council for Industry and Commerce, the Australian Business Group Abu Dhabi, the Australian Business Council Dubai, the Belgian Business Council Dubai, the Benelux Business Council Abu Dhabi, the British Business Group Abu Dhabi, the British Business Group Dubai & the Northern Emirates, the Canadian Business Council Abu Dhabi, the Canadian Business Council Dubai and Northern Emirates, the Danish Business Council Dubai, the French Business Group Abu Dhabi, the French Business Group Dubai & the Northern Emirates, the Italian Business Council Abu Dhabi, the Malaysian Business Council, the Nepali Business Council Dubai, the Netherlands Business Council UAE, the Portuguese Business Council, the Russian Business Council, the South African Business Council, the Swedish Business Council, the Swiss Business Council Abu Dhabi, the Turkish Business Council and the Ukrainian Business Council UAE

"Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the authorities in the UAE have rushed to contain the outbreak through closely monitoring and proactively testing and enforcing self-quarantine. These efforts helped ensure that our families and communities were safe. Now, as businesses return to more normal operations, we believe that the proven commitment of the UAE government to continue supporting a robust business environment for those operating throughout the country, will see a significant surge in business confidence,” said Sammy Bousaba, President AmCham Dubai.

The mission of the Multi-Nation Business Continuity Task Force is to expand and improve awareness of business goals and support the development of policies that shape a robust trade environment. The joint task force will serve as the integrated window of communication between its representative multi-nation business community members and the UAE government. APCO Worldwide is the advisor and consultant to the Secretariat and will continue to support the important mission of the Multi-Nation Business Continuity Task Force.

“AmCham Abu Dhabi and other Abu Dhabi based business groups and councils recently participated in a successful joint effort on the In-Country and Abu Dhabi Value programs’ impact on business. When the UAE AmChams started working on their joint response to the pandemic, it was a natural course of action to involve additional groups in both emirates and build a consensus effort to work alongside the various UAE entities - business and the government alike. All of us are working to ensure business continuity and adapt to new opportunities and challenges that lie ahead,” said Jay Huston, Chairman of AmCham Abu Dhabi.

Comprising 25 diverse business councils and representing over 6,500 companies, the joint task force is a business-to-government initiative established with the intent of serving as an advocate and resource that may be leveraged by the UAE government to secure clear, concise feedback from business and industry.

“Raed Hergli, AmCham Dubai Board Member and Government Affairs & Policy Managing Director, GE MENAT, has been appointed as the Chairman of the Task Force. “This is a crucial time to further deepen government and business collaboration, and this initiative will allow us to tackle the challenges and opportunities in a robust and sustainable way. I am looking forward to the collective work and outcomes that we will drive together.”

The task force is working with the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ADCCI) and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) as well as various UAE government entities.

During a recent meeting held by the task force, H.E. Hamad Buamim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, shared his insights on the current business landscape reshaped by the impact of COVID-19, and stressed the importance of close cooperation between the public and private sectors in addressing new challenges and developing the right solutions to address them.

“The establishment of this task force is a significant development that will advance ongoing efforts to meet the changing needs of the UAE’s business community and serve its interests. We look forward to working closely with various business councils and chambers of commerce throughout the country to ensure a favorable business environment and pave the way for economic growth,” said H.E. Buamim.

Based upon exploratory meetings now held, the task force steering committees have developed sector specific and target-specific working groups. The working groups, which include members from a diverse section of international business and industry sectors, along with UAE Chamber representatives, will work on longer-term policy development designed to stimulate and promote a healthy and sustainable collective business environment for all post-pandemic period.

His Excellency Mohamed Helal Al Mheiri, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the Chamber will continue to support the efforts of the government in Abu Dhabi and the UAE in general in supporting businesses and limiting the negative effects of the novel Coronavirus COVID-19 on the economic scene.

He pointed out that the Abu Dhabi Chamber, since it represents the voice of the private sector in the emirate, has launched a number of initiatives since the beginning of the pandemic. “These initiatives were directed towards motivating businesses and encouraging them to confront the current crises,” he added, praising the solid and fruitful cooperation between business councils and groups in Abu Dhabi and Dubai by working together to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic.

The Director General also praised the interest of the American Business Council in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in opening new communication channels between the public sector and the private one in order to work together in drawing solution and suggestions on how to better serve the business community and implement the precautionary measures that ensure business continuity and efficiency.

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