Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 August 2019

UAE ‘a natural home’ for British business, says UK's Fox

British and Emirati governments agree to develop a new economic partnership statement at JEC meeting in London

UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox says UAE 'one of our most important trading partners'. AFP
UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox says UAE 'one of our most important trading partners'. AFP

Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the UAE is a “natural home for British business in the Middle East” at the fifth UK-UAE Joint Economic Committee (JEC) meeting in London on Wednesday.

The JEC meeting was the first event of its type in for four years and was held at Standard Chartered bank’s headquarters in the City of London.

At the summit, the two countries said they would to continue deploying UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) £9 billion (Dh42.55bn) market capacity to support British exports and investment into the UAE. The funds can be used to underwrite deals for UK companies operating in the UAE. In the last three financial years, UKEF has provided £1.2bn in support for projects in the Emirates, and this commitment will help encourage further uptake of the support on offer.

The government to government meeting, led by the UK's Baroness Rona Fairhead, saw a wide-ranging discussion on bilateral trade and investment, Expo 2020 Dubai, and ways to increase market access and enhance cooperation on standards.

During the meeting, the two governments agreed to develop a new economic partnership statement, which will set out a mutually agreed approach to enhancing the UK-UAE trade and investment relationship.

“The UAE is one of our most important trading partners – it is our fourth-largest export market outside of Europe and accounted for £10.5bn of UK exports in 2018,' said Mr Fox. "The importance of this market to the UK will only grow as we leave the European Union.

“Meanwhile, investors from the UAE are part of the reason why the UK remains the top destination for foreign investment in Europe – with foreign direct investment [FDI] growing here while it is falling on the continent. Emiratis continue to recognise the fundamental strengths of the UK economy and now have more than £5bn of UK assets. This is not just investment in the London property market – it is investment that works for people across Britain, creating jobs everywhere from Gatwick Airport to Manchester City Football Club.”

Mr Fox said the UK’s links to the UAE were “deep”, adding that some 100,000 UK nationals live in the Emirates and 1 million UK tourists visited Dubai in the first half of 2018. He added that the British government is on stand-by to support those companies who want to enter the UAE market.

Total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and UAE was £16.3bn in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2018.

FDI from the UAE in the UK was £5.4bn in 2017, 26.3 per cent higher than in 2016.

The next meeting of the JEC will be held at Expo 2020 in Dubai.

Updated: April 25, 2019 04:47 PM