The UAE-UK Business Council held its eighth plenary meeting at the BP Headquarters in London on 18th May, bringing together business leaders from the UK and UAE to drive the flourishing commercial ties between the two countries towards a new ambitious target. In a recent letter to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the British Prime Minister David Cameron praised the Business Council’s contribution to the early achievement of the bilateral trade target of £12 billion a year by 2015, and proposed a new target for the next five years. Encouraged by the two leaders, the Business Council have agreed a new bilateral trade target of £25 billion by 2020.
The UAE-UK Business Council reflects the keenness of the respective governments to further develop the existing multi layered relationship: with strategic partnerships in many of the major investment and trade areas supporting the sustainable social and economic development of both countries.
The Business Council discussed the activities of its working groups in Energy, Financial & Professional Services, SMEs, Education & Training, Infrastructure, Healthcare and Defence & Aerospace over the last 6 months. Business Council members also explored collaboration between British and Emirati companies in third markets such as Egypt.
UK companies have much to contribute to major upcoming infrastructure projects in the UAE, including Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai Expo 2020, and Etihad Rail. In April, Rolls-Royce signed a £6.1billion partnership with Emirates Airline for the supply and maintenance of engines for 50 Airbus A380 aircraft. In the last year, major new Emirati investments in the UK have been announced, including in the Dudgeon offshore wind farm and urban regeneration in Manchester. These are just a few examples of the strength of UAE-UK trade and investment partnership.
H.E. Nasser A. Alsowaidi, Co-Chair of the UAE-UK Business Council confirmed the United Arab Emirate’s dedication to strengthen its economic ties with the United Kingdom in various fields.
His Excellency said:
Since the UAE-UK Business Council started in Abu Dhabi 4 years ago many positive results have been achieved with the initial established target of the UAE-UK Business Council, to attain £12 billion of bilateral trade and investment by the year 2015. Today, I am very pleased to announce that the target has been achieved at the end of last year in 2014
H.E. Nasser A. Alsowaidi joined Samir Brikho, Chief Executive of AMEC Foster Wheeler and Co-Chair of the UAE-UK Business Council in paying tribute to the established seven working groups under the directorship of the UAE-UK Business Council for their dedicated assistance and perseverance, without which, the achievements to date would not have been possible. Both H.E. Nasser A. Alsowaidi and Samir Brikho also underlined the commitment of the UAE-UK Business Council to identify new objectives, which shall further serve the strengthening of joint investment endeavours as well as the widening of the existing communication channels between the two governments.
Samir Brikho, also said:
I am delighted in the Business Council’s contribution to the early achievement of the bilateral trade target of £12billion a year by 2015. I am confident that the relationships we have developed across our seven core sectors – energy, financial & professional services, education, healthcare, infrastructure, defence & aerospace and SMEs - will enable us to be just as successful with our new, ambitious target.
The UAE Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Abdulrahman Ghanem Al Mutaiwee CVO also commented:
The success of the UAE-UK Business Council is exemplified in the increase of bilateral trade, which doubled to over £12 billion in the past year. This would not have been possible, without the endless efforts of our ministers, the UAE UK business council under the leadership of Co-Chairs as well the entire team that supported these endeavours.
British Ambassador to UAE, Philip Parham, said:
In the four years since it began, the UAE-UK Business Council has quickly established itself as a key business-led driver of increased bilateral trade and investment. Its success is a tribute to all its members and the members of its working groups, but particularly to the leadership of the two Co-Chairs, His Excellency Nasser Ahmed Alsowaidi and Samir Brikho.
BP Group Chief Executive Officer, Bob Dudley said:
I am very pleased that BP was able to host this latest meeting of the UAE-UK Business Council. BP has been investing in the UAE for more than 75 years, sharing our global expertise and technical capability in the development and management of giant oil fields. We are proud to be a part of the wider relationship between the two nations.
Note for Editors
The members of the UAE-UK Business Council are:
- Amec Foster Wheeler
- BAE Systems
- Balfour Beatty
- BP plc
- Brunswick Group
- Foster & Partners
- Rolls Royce
- Standard Chartered
- Healthcare UK
- University of South Wales
- UAE Energy Authority
- Abu Dhabi Chamber
- Dubai Chamber
- Ruwad Establishment
- Thani Investment
- DP World
- Mubadala Real Estate
Mike Welch – mobile: +971 50 967 0427