15/11/2018 08:47 AST

The UK pavilion reflects so much energy; “you can see it from the sky. Someone told me so. It’s so big. It shows how important our presence in the UAE is for us,” Baroness Rona Fairhead CBE, UK Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion at the Department for International Trade (DIT) said, referring to her country’s participation in the now-running Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC).

“Fifty companies from all over the UK; from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England, are participating. It shows how strong our partnership with the UAE is,” the minister added.

Baroness Fairhead dismissed any negative impact of the Brexit on her country’s relations with the UAE and the entire region. “They will get stronger. We have an efficient export strategy to increase our export level from 30 per cent to 35 per cent of our economy.

“Less than 10 per cent of UK companies are currently exporting; so we see a lot more potential to work and look outside. We’ve approached our businesses and asked them how do you want us to help you so that we can achieve this target.”

She affirmed that UAE and UK are focusing on the same platforms: “use of big data, Artificial Intelligence; we are both moving towards cleaner energy. And that’s why the potential are huge for us to grow our business regardless of whatever the outcome of Brexit is. There is a strong desire in the UK to look outside more to markets that we have not tapped before.”

“UAE is the fifth largest trading partner for the UK outside Europe, coming after USA, Japan, China and Hong Kong, and bilateral trade is now growing in double digits. In terms of investment, we are the biggest foreign direct investor today in the UAE. And I believe it has to go both ways so it becomes good for you and god for us.

“We are working as partners and UAE is increasingly investing in a number of sectors in UK, not just in real estate, but now in other industries like wind power. There are reports as well about a UAE sovereign tech fund that will come through London and probably for all of Europe. We are seeing so strong links now to sustain a stronger basis for our partnership to grow further.”

According to the minister the UAE-UK trade amounted to $22.7 billion in 2017. UK exports stood at 11.1 billion pound, including 7.6 billion in commodities and 3.5 bn in services. UAE exports to the UK reached 7.4 bn pound in 2017.

The UK government seeks to increase the trade exchange between the two countries to around $32.5 billion over the coming period. There are 6000 UK businesses, with direct trade relations with the UAE out of a total of 10,000 in the GCC region.

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