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French foreign direct investments (FDI) in the UAE have grown ten times in the past decade, reaching US$3.6 billion in 2009, accounting for 35 per cent of the total French FDI in the Middle East. French civilian exports to the UAE have tripled between 1998 and 2009 reaching US$4.9 billion, according to data by Invest in France Agency (IFA), a body for promoting and facilitating international investment in France.
Headquartered in Paris, IFA has an office in Abu Dhabi catering to the Middle East. There are around 300 French companies having representations in the UAE and their number is expected to expand 10 per cent annually, the data show.
French companies have engaged in strategic partnerships with their Emirati counterparts in many sectors such as hydrocarbon, aerospace and aeronautics, environment and services, power and transportation. Between 2003 and 2009, France was the tenth largest European recipient of investments from the GCC countries and received four per cent of Europe-bound projects, the data show.