JETRO & Dubai FDI Virtual Webinar Series Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Jan 26, 2021

JETRO in partnership with the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of Dubai Economy, had jointly initiated a series of webinars to connect with potential investors and partners from Japan and highlight opportunities in the healthcare, food and agriculture, and technology sectors in Dubai.


According to Dubai FDI, between 2009 and 2019, the total value of non-oil trade between Japan and UAE has surpassed AED 534 billion, demonstrating the strength of partnership in both countries. In the five-year period between 2015 and 2019, Japanese projects brought an estimated foreign direct investment (FDI) worth AED 1.04 billion into Dubai. In 2019, FDI inflows into Dubai from Japan increased by more than 171 per cent over the previous year.


The virtual outreach kicked off on 2nd September 2020, with the healthcare sector in focus. A webinar on the food and agriculture sector was held on the 6th of October 2020 and the technology sector webinar on 4th of November 2020.



JETRO in partnership with Dubai FDI, organized a virtual dialogue that provides a comprehensive overview of the business environment and opportunities in Dubai’s healthcare sector and how Japanese companies and investors can benefit from them.


The UAE’s healthcare market is developing rapidly. According to Business Monitor International, the country’s healthcare expenditure reached 13.7 billion US dollars in 2018. It is expected to grow to 18.3 billion US dollars by 2023. Healthcare spending is projected to account for 3.6 % of the country’s GDP by 2028. With this, healthcare sector is one of the most robust investment opportunities in Dubai.


Agenda: please click here



1) ”The Dubai Advantage” – by Dubai FDI

Dubai is the City of the Future, the Gateway to the Region, and a Hub in the global economy. It has a tremendous geographical advantage that position Dubai ideally in attracting medical tourism.

Dubai continuously upgrading its global logistics connectivity and ease of doing business, which shows the city’s preparedness for inviting investments in healthcare sector.


2) Overview of PPP Opportunities and Projects for Dubai – by Dubai Health Authority (DHA)

Dubai Health Authority oversees the healthcare sector in Dubai. Over the past decade, DHA has witnessed significant growth in the sector, and there are more opportunities for investment and growth. There are investment needs in certain medical specialties in terms of outpatient rooms and acute inpatient beds, and also PPP projects range from developing new infrastructure to enhance existing DHA services and improving access to care for patient population.


3) Dubai Healthcare City: Your Health & Wellness Destination – by Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC)

Dubai Healthcare City is an economic free zone dedicated to healthcare excellence and patient care. It has its own regulatory body that facilitates end to end business setup.

Healthcare professionals have to meet rigorous, international quality standards in order to practice at Dubai Healthcare City and it is a home to many major national and international healthcare brands.

Located in the heart of Dubai, DHCC comprises two phases. Phase 1 occupying 9 million square feet in Oud Metha is an established community dedicated to healthcare and medical education. DHCC Phase 2 expansion, currently under development, occupies 19 million square feet in Al Jaddaf Dubai; it is dedicated to wellness.


4) Case Study on Successful Japanese Business “Allm in Middle East: Success Stories and Future Potential” – by Allm MEA

Allm (named after the phrase “All Medical”) is a company dedicated to empowering societies by shaping healthcare. It was first established in April 2001 in Tokyo, Japan.

Numerous branches where established around the world including the Dubai branch in 2018 for the MEA region.

Allm has found success in the Middle East and African region with multiple specialized projects being properly executed to help elevate healthcare services in the region. The greatest success so far was the integration of the secure and highly efficient communication application that is “JOIN” in numerous hospitals and healthcare institutions in the region.


5) Case Study on Successful Partnership with Japanese Business – by Unicare Medical Trading

Unicare Medical Trading was established in 1995 as part of the MPC Healthcare; fully owned by the ruling family of Sharjah; and working in partnership with the Albatha Group (one of the largest private business groups in the UAE).

Unicare Medical Trading has a full coverage of the Government Institutions, Private Hospitals and Clinics, Pharmacies; provide in-depth knowledge, guidance and support within the local market; deliver comprehensive product offering to the healthcare industry; and with successful business partnership with some Japanese companies.



JETRO in partnership with Dubai FDI, organized a virtual dialogue that provides a comprehensive overview of the business environment and opportunities in Dubai’s Food & Agriculture sector and how Japanese businesses can benefit from them.


Food security and agricultural self-sufficiency are strategic aims for the UAE government. The UAE have made continuous gains in this sector by introducing innovation and best practice in production.


As a major re-export center, Dubai maintains an excellent facilities for fresh produce by focusing on research and development of agricultural technologies that offer a variety of crops. In the food service segment, Dubai’s demographic profile ensures that out-of-home consumption and food delivery continue to grow. This is strengthened by the constantly increasing number of visitors in Dubai. In addition, third-party delivery platforms and meal delivery have become vital channels. In fact, new market entrants continue to trust these players to launch their concepts in the UAE.


The food and agriculture industry is shaping up as one of the highly attractive business sectors in Dubai, supported by focused and responsive policies.


Agenda: please click here



1) ”The Dubai Advantage” – by Dubai FDI

Dubai is the City of the Future, the Gateway to the Region, and a Hub in the global economy. Dubai continues to upgrade its global logistics connectivity and the ease of doing business using an effective digital transformation strategy. Artificial intelligence, blockchain technologies and smartphone applications are being utilized to benefit the Food and Agricultural Sector.

The constant increasing number of visitors in Dubai, and with the World EXPO 2020 event next year, food service sector is expected to have a tremendous boost.


2) Overview of Food Market – by JETRO Dubai

Dubai is not only the hub to the whole Middle East and North Africa region, but also the destination of the Japanese food products. People in Dubai have large interests to Japanese culture, history including food. And the tendency is increasing year by year.

In marketing the food products, certain procedures and regulations have to be complied. Those are such as product registration, label registration etc.. Labels and ingredients are assessed and tested at laboratory. Certification for Halal is not required, but compliance to Halal rules are essential.

There are 272 Japanese restaurants in UAE. They serve wide range of Japanese food and drinks. These days, Japanese sweets shops and “Izakaya” style restaurants are popular and increasing the numbers of retails. In Dubai, seven of the restaurants are certified as “Japanese Food Supporter Stores”, which promotes ingredients made in Japan.


3) Dubai Food Market/ Rules & Regulations – by Dubai Municipality

The Food Safety Department is the executive body that ensures the food safety in Dubai. It facilitates the food trade activities (imports and exports) while ensuring the highest levels of safety; and issue food related permits to ensure transparency and accountability.

Prior to importing any food products into Dubai, important steps should be taken in the correct order:

(1) UAE trade license > (2) Company Registration > (3) Register Food Items > (4) Assess Food Labels > (5) Prepare import documents/formalities > (6) Shipment inspection > (7) Shipment action taken  [*All shipment details are recorded on the Federal Food System (ZAD) – making food import a very easy process]

Product Label Requirements:

Barcode number, product name, brand name, net weight/volume, country of origin, ingredients, production & expiry dates, storage conditions, manufacturer name, names or E-No. of additives (if any), instructions for use (if any), warning (if any), Arabic Label (mandatory)

How to get Food Standards?

*Log-in at:

*Required Documents: Health Certificate from Authorized Government Entity; Halal Certificate (for meat, poultry & its products); packing list; Pork-free Diet Certificate (for Farmed Fish and Seafood’s and its products); Organic Certificate (if claimed); GMO Free Certificate (if claimed); Other Certificate as per the Circular

Top Imported Items from Japan in 2019: flavoured drinks; soy sauce; mayonnaise; wheat flour; noodles; rice vinegar; fish cakes; vitamin drinks; corn snacks; soy curd; tempura flour, etc.


4) Jebel Ali Free Zone

JAFZA (Jebel Ali Free Zone) is the leading Free Zone in the Middle East region that lies at the centre of trade and is part of a unique ecosystem that offers end to end solutions and growth opportunities to businesses that operate locally and globally.

Some of the Food & Beverage Processing inside JAFZA are oil seed processing, tea processing, sugar refinery, grains processing, meat processing, bottling plant, food processing, and chocolate manufacturing.

Today, over 8,000 companies, which includes nearly 100 Global Fortune 500 enterprises set-up their business inside JAFZA. It proudly stands as a dynamic base for thousands of businesses from over 100 countries, sustains more than 135,000 jobs and attracts about 24% of Dubai’s foreign direct investment.


5) Key to Success to Dubai Food Market – by Summit Trading Co. LLC

Summit Trading Company L.L.C was established in Abu Dhabi, UAE in 1977. The company is the distributor and wholesaler of Japanese foodstuffs in UAE; also engaged in the corporate catering business; and also an exporter to neighboring countries in the Middle East.

Summit Trading import authentic Japanese dry, chilled and foods; wagyu beef; frozen tuna; fresh vegetables; fresh seafood; and seasonal fruits by sea and by air to meet various needs of their customers.

In March 2019, Representative and Managing Director of Summit Trading, Mr. Shiro Ohkubo, was appointed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) of Japan as “Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador”. In July 2020, JETRO’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Food certified Summit Trading LLC as “Supporter of Japanese Food Products” overseas.

Given the longest track record and most reliable business service in the Middle East, Summit Trading already gained the trust and patronage of many restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, and local companies in the region.



JETRO in partnership with Dubai FDI, is reaching out to Japanese investors virtually to showcase and explores the partnership opportunities in Dubai’s technology sector, and how they can tap into this high growth sector.


The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Initiative (CSPI), announced on the official visit of Japan’s former Prime Minister H. E Abe Shinzo in 2018 to the UAE, represents wide-ranging aspiration goals and shared vision towards advancing the bilateral relations to a higher strategic level which includes the Technology sector. The successful joint projects between UAE and Japan in the space field, such as the launching of Khalifa-sat in 2018 and the Probe Hope in 2019 from Japan, shows its commitment in strengthening its relationship. Both countries demonstrate a great common interest in investing in the field of advanced technologies and innovative industries.


Agenda: please click here



1) ”The Dubai Advantage” – by Dubai FDI

Dubai is the City of the Future, the Gateway to the Region, and a Hub in the global economy. Dubai is one of the most attractive markets in the Middle East; it has a unique location in the world with modern and great infrastructure for investment.

With Dubai’s transformation into smart city, there are many opportunities in the technology sector in Dubai.


2) MENA Startup Ecosystem Overview – by MAGNiTT

MAGNiTT is the largest online community or venture data platform for startups across the MENA region. It connects entrepreneurs directly with ecosystem stakeholders including funders, mentors, support services, and talent.

For startups, companies are able to use their profiles on MAGNiTT to apply for funding directly to VCs and angel networks from across the region. While for investors, they can connect with startup companies from across the MENA ecosystem. There are about 16,000+ startups and 2,000+ investors & enablers at MAGNiTT platform.

Out of 360 Total # of deals in YTD2020 in the MENA region; UAE ranked first with 26% share, followed by Egypt with 23%, and KSA with 22% in Deal Share by Country. In Deal Share by Industry; E-Commerce has 21%, followed by Fintech at 19%, and Technology Sector at 12%.

Out of $803M Total $ Funding of YTD2020; UAE got 62% funding, followed by Egypt with 17%, and KSA with 14%.

Some Funds Launched by UAE Governments: Dubai Future District Fund (AED 1B), DIFC FinTech Fund (USD 100M), Mubadala Capital Tech Funds (USD 250M), and Ghadan Fund (AED 535M)

Top Accelerators as of YTD2020: otf Wadi Accelerator; Flat6Labs Cairo; Misk 500 MENA Accelerator; otf Techween; Flat6Labs Bahrain; Oasis 500; Brinc MENA

Top VC’s as of YTD 2020: 500 Startups; Vision Ventures; Wamda Capital; Global Ventures; Impact 46; KAUST Innovation Fund; Innoventures; Modus Capital; Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO); Algebra Ventures


3) Activity Introduction and Expectations for Japanese Startups – by Dubai Future Foundation

Dubai Future Foundation is the manifestation of H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision to institutionalize future shaping. The foundation has a vision to make Dubai a leading City of the Future

Dubai Future Foundation launches initiatives under five strategic areas of focus that collectively help move Dubai towards becoming a leading city of the future:

(1) Future, Foresight & Imagination: a) Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE (C4IR UAE) serves as a public-private platform for the collaborative development that focuses on three emerging technology portfolios: Blockchain and Distributed Ledger, Artificial Intelligence, and Precision Medicine; b) Dubai Future Council; c) Dubai Future Research

(2) Content & Knowledge Dissemination: a) Dubai Future Talks>online platform that gathers a global community of visionaries, change-makers, and pioneers to share their experiences, insights and research with the world; b) Mostaqbal>inspiring, future-ready Arabic content for a generation of innovators.

(3) Capacity Building: a) Dubai Future Academy>knowledge hub for those creating the future; b) One Million Arab Coders>digital platform that provides online programming courses accessible by Arab youth around the world.

(4) Future Design & Acceleration: a) AREA 2071>co-creation space that brings together the world’s brightest minds; b) Dubai Future Accelerators; c) Dubai 10X >placing Dubai 10 years ahead of leading global cities

(5) Future Experience: a) Museum of the Future


4) Activity Introduction and Expectations for Japanese Startups – by Smart Dubai

Smart Dubai is the government office in charge in facilitating Dubai’s citywide smart transformation, to empower, deliver and promote an efficient, seamless, safe and impactful city experience for residents and visitors.

Smart Dubai is anchored in the vision of H.H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President & Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the happiest city on Earth.

Since its inception, Smart Dubai Office has already launched over 130 initiatives in partnership with government and private sector entities. Some key initiatives include, the Dubai Data Initiative, the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, the Happiness Agenda, the Dubai AI Roadmap and the Dubai Paperless Strategy.

Smart Dubai plays host to a number of emerging technology backed applications powering the everyday lives of residents and visitors in the city. These include Dubai Now, Rashid, Dubai Pulse, Dubai Careers, Smart Employee, Happiness Meter and many others.