H.E. Nasser Ahmed Alsowaidi, the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, today opened the Abu Dhabi-Berlin Economic Forum, held at the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The Forum was opened in presence of H.E. Mr. Klaus Wowereit, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, who headed a large delegation of senior German officials and businessmen is his current visit to the country.In his opening speech of the Forum, H.E. Nasser Alsowaidi described the bilateral relations between the United Arab Emirates and the Federal Republic of Germany as strategic, deep and strong, based on various common interests and reciprocal economic ties, backed by the solid belief of the leaders and the governments of the two friendly countries. Alsowaidi stressed that the current sage comprises an important milestone in furthering, and broadening horizons of cooperation and partnership, between private sectors, companies, businessmen and investors of both sides.H.E. Alsowaidi pointed out that the forum provides an ideal opportunity for Abu Dhabi government agencies, private sector and national companies, to meet sister associates on the German side, particularly the Berlin-based companies, to discuss aspects of joint cooperation and investment opportunities provided by Abu Dhabi and Berlin development and investments projects in various sectors, most importantly the biotechnological field.Alsowaidi explained that Abu Dhabi Government is certain that the next phase of overall economic development as stated by the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 will focus on the transformation to a knowledge-based economy, which will depend mainly on knowledge and technology transfer, and utilization of best practices and international experiences of developed countries. H.E noted that Germany is advanced and developed in this area, and encourages foreign investments in this vital sector, stating that Abu Dhabi offers a package of leading projects in alternative energy, petrochemicals, steel industries, transportation, logistic services, clean technology, aerospace and other manufacturing industries.H.E. the Chairman of the Department of Economic Development said that tourism will expectedly contribute to strengthening ties between Abu Dhabi and Berlin in the light of the huge investment projects in this sector, notably, the tourism projects in Saadiyat Island, including the cultural district and famous international museums.Alsowaidi said that UAE has become an important trade partner in the Middle East for the Federal Republic of Germany, which turned as one of UAE's largest trading partners during the past few years, pointing out that Abu Dhabi exports to Germany rose in 2012 by 29% compared to 2011.Alsowaidi hailed the growing relation between the UAE and Germany, in recent years which was a natural outcome of the strategic agreement signed between the two governments in 2004, noting in this context, the role of the German Emirati Joint Council for Industry and Commerce (AHK), since its establishment in 2009, in contributing to the development of bilateral relations between the two countries in many areas, particularly industry and trade.H.E. Alsowaidi commended the recent high level visits of the leaders of both countries and their role in bolstering and furthering bilateral relations, referring to the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to Berlin in February last year, the visit paid by Chancellor Angela Merkel to the UAE in May 2010 and the visit of the German President H.E. Christian Wulff to Abu Dhabi in December 2011.H.E. Nasser Alsowaidi emphasized in his speech that Abu Dhabi and Berlin are keen to sustain long-lasting partnership, through the implementation of high value-added long-term projects to mutually benefit the peoples of the two friendly countries.Alsowaidi added that Abu Dhabi Government encourages investments which contribute to technology transfer and localization, and setting scientific world-class educational systems focused on developing competitive and highly qualified UAE professionals to lead growth and development, and excel in fields related to alternative energy and biotechnology with focus on expansion and development of small and medium enterprises in these areas.H.E. Mr. Klaus Wowereit, Governing Mayor of Berlin, delivered a speech during the opening session of the Abu Dhabi-Berlin Economic Forum, in which he said that his visit to the UAE with a large delegation of government officials and businessmen, emphasized the keenness s of the German government to build a strong and strategic partnership with UAE, which has become a major attractive center for successful investments, thanks to its successive achievements and the development of its growing economy.H.E. the Governing Mayor of Berlin expressed hope that Abu Dhabi-Berlin Economic Forum will achieve objectives aimed at creating greater convergence between all partners and stakeholders in both countries to strengthen and consolidate economic and investment relations between Abu Dhabi and Berlin.H.E. Mayor Wowereit, added that the two parties met in Abu Dhabi in order to exchange views and explore available investment opportunities, as German companies and businessmen, follow with great interest, the development and economic growth which Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates experience in general, thanks to the large package of implemented major development projects, which attracted the attention of many countries in the world.It is worth mentioning that the UAE stands currently as Germany's first trading partner, in the Middle East, in view of the growth in volume of trade exchange between the two countries, which increased by 120% between 2004 and 2011. The number of German companies operating in the UAE exceeds one thousand companies, with German community of more than 9 thousand people.The volume of trade between Germany and the UAE hiked from € 3.9 billion in 2004 to € 8.5 billion in 2011, while the value of Germany's exports to the UAE in 2011 amounted to more than $7 billion.Dr. Eric Schweitzer, President of the Chamber of Commerce of Berlin (IHK Berlin), gave a presentation during the Forum, which highlighted many economic sectors in the city of Berlin and Germany in general, with aim to avail investment opportunities that could pose a meeting point between businessmen, investors and the private sectors on both sides, focusing on biotechnology and alternative energy sectors.The Chairman of the Berlin Supervisory Board Prof. Dr. Günter Stock reviewed in his presentation during the Forum, the development of business sector in Berlin, highlighting areas of investment opportunities and incentives offered by Berlin in this sector, with focus on leading German companies which provide technological solutions to the business sector.Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development gave a presentation on the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, and its goals which were set to achieve sustainable economic development through the expansion of non-oil sectors, by raising their contribution to GDP to 64% by the year 2030. The presentation noted that the sectors which the Government of Abu Dhabi will most focus on include alternative energy, education, health, industry, trade, tourism, biotechnology, transportation and other, which provide in its entirety promising investment opportunities in the coming years.On the sidelines of the forum a MoU was signed between Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and the INIT Digital Communication Company, aimed at enhancing cooperation and partnership between the two sides in the field of digital communications technology.The MoU was signed by H.E. Ghanem Mohammed Alffendi Al Mazrouei, the Executive Director of Support Services Sector on behalf of the Department of Economic Development, and Mr. Harold Felling, CEO of INIT, in presence of the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development H.E. Nasser Alsowaidi, H.E. Mr. Klaus Wowereit, Governing Mayor of Berlin, H.E. Mohammed Omar Abdullah, Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development and a number of senior officials from both sides.The signed MoU, enables the German company to provide smart technological solutions for transactions, administrative and technical procedures for the business sector and various business activities in Abu Dhabi, especially those which come within the functions and responsibilities of Abu Dhabi Business Center, the business one stop shop which will be launched at the beginning of next March.It is noteworthy that the Germen Company INIT Digital Communication is one of the leading international providers of information technology services, which offers a full range of solutions in modern information technology and digital communications. The company is a global consulting firm in implementation and operation of programs related to business and government applications; and has several branches in Germany, as well as Brussels and Delhi, and employs more than 250 employees.