DUBAI: A strategic trade agreement between the UAE and UK would undoubtedly benefit investors and business in both countries. But the relationship is far from new. The Emirates already has a long history of investing in Britain.
Investment from the UAE into the UK stood at £5.5 billion ($7.6bn) at the end of 2019, says the Department for International Trade, and the UAE accounted for £7.8bn of total UK outward foreign direct investment stock in 2019, report agencies.
Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said the UK was a longstanding and trusted partner, with the strong bilateral relationship dating back to the birth of the UAE 50 years ago.
“The UAE believes that our relationships with like-minded, outward-looking economies such as the UK” are “essential”, Dr Al Zeyoudi said. The UAE is looking to achieve its ambition to double its total economic output to Dh3 trillion by 2021, with areas “for potential collaboration” between the two nations “constantly expanding”.
Britain is now the UAE’s 25th largest trading partner, says the DIT, with more than £18.6bn in bilateral trade in 2019, up by 1.6 per cent from 2018.
Last year, that figure dropped to £12bn because of the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the supply chain.
Total trade in goods and services between the countries was £10.7bn in the year to April, a decrease of 41.4 per cent from £7.6bn in the same period a year earlier, highlighting the stark effects of the pandemic.
Made up of dozens of private sector figures with backgrounds in banking, technology and other industries, the council advises ministers on how to promote the UK to foreign investors.
“The UAE is an important trading partner for the UK and home to some of the world’s largest and most experienced investment companies,” Britain’s former international trade minister Liz Truss said this year.