x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sharjah is open for business with British firms

There are more than 100,000 UK expatriates in the UAE, more than 5,000 UK-owned businesses and more than one million British visitors each year to the Emirates.

Winning team: Sharjah and the UK share a relationship that dates back to the early 1800s and trade is still growing Lee Hoagland / The National
Winning team: Sharjah and the UK share a relationship that dates back to the early 1800s and trade is still growing Lee Hoagland / The National

SHARJAH // Free trade in a environment without corruption, a highly educated workforce and a good quality of life are what Sharjah offers to aspiring British investors, the emirate’s senior officials said.

Speaking at a recent roundtable event at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce organised by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and the British Business Group, Hussain Al Mahmoudi, director general of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said there were many opportunities the emirate’s growing economy could offer British businesses.

“UK companies are looking for attractive business opportunities in locations that support free trade, are free from corruption, have a highly educated workforce, and a good quality of life, all of which Sharjah can offer,” he said.

Sheikha Bodour bin Sultan Al Qasimi, chairwoman of Shurooq, highlighted the deeply rooted relations that bind the UAE and the UK, with a focus on the rich history that Sharjah and the UK share.

She said: “Sharjah and the UK can by no means be called strangers, rather we share a relationship that dates back centuries – from the early 1800s when what is now Sharjah was still known as the Trucial Coast, to a century later when the staging post in Sharjah for Imperial Airways flights en route from England to India resulted in the UAE’s first airport. And the trade relationship between our countries is stronger than ever.”

Edward Hobart, British consul general, said that the business environment, progressive legislation, infrastructure, logistics and space offered by Sharjah provided an investor-friendly environment conducive for further British investment.

“The relationship we have with Sharjah is the oldest we have in the UAE. This is the first place British companies came to and did substantial business and they’ve been part of the development of the infrastructure of Sharjah over the last 50 years.”

Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, chief executive of Shurooq, said the emirate and the UK enjoyed a long-standing and highly successful relationship.

In 2012, the value of trade between Sharjah and the UK stood at Dh1.1 billion. There are more than 100,000 UK expatriates in the UAE, more than 5,000 UK-owned businesses and more than one million British visitors each year to the Emirates.

ykakande@thenational.ae