Toronto and Vancouver (June 4, 2013) — The Toronto and Vancouver offices of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) were pleased to host a senior delegation from the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) led by His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, the Director General of the DED and Vice Chair of the Supreme Committee on the Islamic Economy in late May.  The seminars highlighted Dubai’s growing profile and prominence as a global hub for the Islamic economy.  The visit of the delegation was organized with the assistance of representatives of the Governments of Canada, Ontario and British Columbia.

“In January of this year, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoumn, the Ruler of Dubai and the Vice President of the UAE, unveiled his vision for Dubai to become the global capital of the Islamic economy,” said H. E. Sami Al Qamzi during his remarks at the event.  “The wide-ranging initiative will include a Sharia Council to oversee standards in Islamic finance, an arbitration centre to resolve disputes in Islamic contracts, and a drive to boost production of halal food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics amongst other products. The Emirate will also work to develop international standards of practice for Islamic commerce and industry and will establish a centre for Sharia-compliant quality standards.”

At the Toronto event, Jeffrey Graham, Leader of BLG’s Islamic Finance practice, praised the Dubai initiative. “There is a great opportunity for Toronto to find ways to partner with Dubai to enhance its own efforts to become the North American Centre for Islamic Finance,” said Jeffrey.  “In addition, we see tremendous opportunities to connect the sophisticated financial and business communities in Dubai with leading edge Canadian technology companies and entrepreneurs in such areas as clean tech, life sciences, advanced materials and information technology.” 

“The potential for mutually beneficial trade and commercial relationships, founded on principles of ethical investment, are a common theme across our respective cultures that draw our respective cities together,” said Ross McGowan, a senior partner at BLG during the Vancouver event. “Ambitious goals, pursued with determination and innovation, have shaped Dubai and can stand as our example of what we too can accomplish for Vancouver and Canada.”

Follow-up activities are being planned to facilitate further contact with the representatives of DED.

About BLG

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) is a leading full-service national Canadian law firm focusing on business law, commercial litigation and intellectual property solutions for its international and domestic clients.  BLG has more than 750 lawyers, intellectual property agents and other professionals located in six Canadian cities.  BLG is the Canadian member of ISFIN, the world’s leading network of Islamic finance specialists, and is the ACQ 2013 Islamic Law Firm of the Year (Canada).

About DED

The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) is responsible for business registration and licensing in Dubai as well as commercial compliance and consumer protection. Together with its four agencies - the Foreign Investment Office, the Export Development Corporation, the Dubai Shopping Festival Office and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders - DED supports and strengthens all economic drivers of Dubai, and works together with all parties to ensure that the goals of the Dubai Strategic Plan are achieved.