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Foreign Office Minister to call on private sector in UK and Gulf to work together

As part of the Gulf Co-operation Council “Days in Europe Expo,” Foreign Office Minister for Trade Henry Bellingham will deliver a speech at the GCC-UK Economic Co-operation Seminar at Lancaster House on 19 October.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Foreign Office Minister is expected to call on the private sectors in the UK and the Gulf states to take advantage of opportunities being created by their governments, as part of wider efforts to elevate relations between the UK and the Gulf.

Selected extracts of his prepared remarks follow below:

“The Gulf matters to the UK. It is a strategically important part of the world with increasing political, economic and cultural influence.”

“The Gulf States are major players in the international economy, and have weathered the recent global economic downturn. With an overall GDP of $1.2 trillion, they constitute the UK’s 7th largest export market - bigger than China and India combined.”

“We want the UK to be the Gulf’s commercial partner of choice. British business and expertise has much to offer the region. For example, the Abu Dhabi and Bahrain Grand Prix bring together British engineering and marketing with the Gulf’s impressive hosting of world class events.”

“We have strong historical ties but we cannot afford to be complacent. This Government is committed to work with Gulf partners to promote two-way trade, and build a favourable business environment. Indeed, with the development of a GCC common market and single currency, and continued progress on trade liberalisation and regulatory reform, much has already been achieved.”

“It is the private sector that should take the lead - the Government can and will facilitate, but it is the private sector that does the business.”

“We are creating a Middle East Task Force within UK Trade and Investment aimed at enhancing collaboration across government and private sector on key Gulf opportunities.”

“The recent global financial stresses are a reminder to all of us of the need for more effective banking supervision and corporate transparency. London as the leading global financial centre can collaborate with Gulf financial centres to progress reforms which promote financial stability, learning from each other’s experience.”

“The UAE through its ambitious Masdar initiative and its investment in the London Array wind farm project provides good examples of two-way exchanges in renewables technology. And Saudi Arabia - despite its vast oil reserves - has just announced an ambitious target of generating 15% of power from renewable sources by 2020. Again there is much more we can do both to learn from each other, and to collaborate to mutual advantage.”

Published 19 October 2010