x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Deal to help UAE sell arms in Europe

The British defence ministry is drafting a deal to help UAE military technology companies sell goods to the European Union.

A Eurofighter Typhoon on display on the opening day of this year’s International Defence Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National
A Eurofighter Typhoon on display on the opening day of this year’s International Defence Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // The British defence ministry is drafting a deal to help UAE military technology companies sell goods to the European Union.

Phillipa Harvey, of the ministry's UAE Strategic Partnership, said the Government had asked for its military products to be marketed in the UK as part of a possible Eurofighter Typhoon deal.

Ms Harvey said the partnership, announced by British prime minister David Cameron last year during a visit, would help UAE defence contractors to navigate EU law and comply with the Nato standard requirements.

Philip Dunne, British minister for defence equipment, support and technology, said this year that the UK was ready to buy UAE-made military equipment.

"We recognise your vision to develop indigenous capability and I look forward to seeing this innovation and expertise on display," Mr Dunne said.

"Even more than this, we recognise that in the years to come the supply of defence and security equipment will become increasingly two-way traffic."

The ministry has developed a website for Emirati defence companies looking to sell their products to the UK.

Ms Harvey said UAE companies interested in partnerships would gain greater access to the EU.

"EU law states that governments cannot discriminate against EU-based companies, therefore we would like for UAE companies to set up bases in Europe," she said.

The deal is expected to be completed and presented for signing at the Dubai Airshow in November, said Ms Harvey.

Alan Malpas, from the UK Trade and Investment Office, said that with defence spending being cut in the UK, technology companies might lose the funding needed to develop their projects.

"When we engage in partnerships, companies come and work together with the UAE and help each other develop these projects," Mr Malpas said."In addition to the industrial benefits it brings to the UAE, these projects otherwise may die and go away."

The UAE companies Tawazun Precision Industries and Strata have already signed contracts to supply parts for major British and European companies.

Tawazun supplies a pure aluminium V-frame part used at the rear of the Eurofighter to British-based BAE Systems, airframes to Airbus and five parts for the German-made Skyshield air-defence system.

amustafa@thenational.ae