Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, welcomed Dr Fox in Dubai and briefed him on the progress in building the Expo site, supported by UK architects and construction firms.
Dr Fox reiterated the UK’s support for Expo 2020 Dubai as he handed over its official letter of participation, adding the UK planned to theme its Pavilion around ‘Opportunity’, focusing on how UK expertise can help spread prosperity across the world.
He emphasised that the UK, as an outward looking country, will use Expo 2020 Dubai as a springboard for strengthening international trade and relations as we leave the EU.
International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said:
Expo 2020 Dubai presents exciting opportunities for both the UAE and the UK to strengthen international trade relations as Dubai prepares to welcome 180 nations, and the world’s top business leaders and investors.
We have a long history in showcasing the very best innovation and talent on a world stage, starting with the first Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations in 1851. The UK is committed to playing a key role in helping Dubai stage a successful expo. As an international economic department, my department is helping British companies bring their expertise to build pavilions that will be enjoyed by 25 million visitors from around the world.
Our theme ‘Global Britain – Innovating for a Shared Future’ will set out our outward facing global vision, and further reinforce the many opportunities opening up to us as we leave the EU.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said:
The UAE and the UK are joined by a bond of exceptional, historic relations. This relationship is embodied through the various agreements signed between our countries, from the promotion of investments to air transport and taxation.
The UK was one of the first countries to back the UAE’s efforts to host Expo 2020 Dubai and we are grateful for their enduring support, which was reiterated today by Dr Liam Fox. We are looking forward to connecting further with British institutions and businesses as they join us on our journey to 2020 and beyond.
UK’s World Expo legacy
The UK hosted the first ever World Expo in 1851 and has played a leading role in Expos over the past 166 years, including at the Expo Milano 2015, where the UK ‘Hive’ national pavilion won 22 international awards. The Hive Pavilion, which was the UK’s top paid-for attraction in 2015 with 3.3 million visitors, has now been erected in Kew Gardens, London, providing education on the importance of conservation.
The UK was one of the first nations to publicly support Dubai’s bid to host Expo 2020 and also one of the first countries to publicly announce its official participation.
Prime Minister Theresa May, confirmed the UK would participate in December when she met Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on the margins of the annual meeting of the Gulf Co-operation Council in Bahrain.
UK - UAE trade and Expo opportunities
The UK and the UAE have strong trade and investment links. About 5,000 UK businesses operate in the UAE and more than 100,000 British nationals live in the country. The UAE is the UK’s 12th largest trading partner, and UK exports to the Gulf region were £20 billion in 2015. In finance, UK firms represent 15 per cent of the regulated financial firms in the Dubai International Financial Centre.
British architects and construction firms, including Anglo-Emirati joint venture Al-Futtaim Carillion and architectural company Foster + Partners, are involved in the design and building of some of the pavilions and districts on the Expo site.
Opening on 20 October 2020, the Dubai Expo is projected to attract 25 million visits, with 70 per cent expected to come from outside the UAE – the largest proportion of international visitors in the 166 year history of World Expos. More than 200 countries, companies, charities and educational institutions are also expected to participate.