UAE: Visit of Secretary of State for BIS; 18-20 January

British Embassy Dubai


Dr Cable threw his support behind 175 security and 25 energy companies at two international exhibitions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi; highlighted business and innovation successes; launched the new Gulf Investment Team; and addressed an international audience on “the business of clean energy” at the World Future Energy Summit. Throughout he showcased the UK Industrial Strategy and highlighted our economic recovery.


Dr Cable visited Intersec, the leading global show for fire and rescue, health and safety, commercial, homeland and security sectors. He saw firsthand the strength of the British presence: with 175 exhibitors – a 30% increase on last year – the UK had the largest representation after the UAE. Throughout the show the companies gave very positive views on their prospects in the region. Dr Cable gave an address to the UK companies at the show, underlining the importance of the sectors and of exports to the recovery of the UK economy and the vital role of SMEs. Speaking later in the visit to the British Business Groups in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, he expanded this message covering the Government’s plan to secure the UK’s future economic strength based on longer term thinking and investment under the Industrial Strategy. Sharing this vision for the UK’s industrial landscape with the Chairman of the UAE-UK Business Council and National Bank of Abu Dhabi, they identified a shared ambition to bring the UK SME supply chain into the UAE, which our two new Business Centres will help deliver. 


Calls on the President of Emirates and CEO of Etihad Airlines enabled senior level follow up to the success at the Dubai Airshow of both Airbus and Rolls Royce on aircraft purchases that will secure over 5,000 jobs in the UK. Dr Cable was able to emphasise the Government’s investment in the aerospace sector alongside industry to ensure it maintained its position as the world’s second largest in the long term. Emirates were clearly pleased with how the A380 was working for them. In Abu Dhabi in particular, Dr Cable was reminded of the importance of working hard to strengthen relationships and make an increased contribution to Emiratisation. 


Meetings with senior Emiratis involved in the Expo 2020 programme, enabled the Secretary of State to express the interest of UK firms in delivering Expo 2020 and the new mega-airport in Dubai. For their part, the Emiratis reiterated the need for Export Finance to which we were able to confirm the availability and point to several projects for which cover was already available. Dr Cable was also able to express thanks for DP World’s massive investment in the London Gateway which he had visited twice and which would deliver Europe’s best deep water port..


Dr Cable attended the World Future Energy Summit.  He witnessed the signing of an MOU between Masdar (Abu Dhabi’s alternative energy business and fund) and BP which will lead to co-investment in a new energy technologies accelerator programme at the Masdar Institute.  


The Secretary of State launched the UKTI Gulf Investment Team to a gathering of intermediaries and potential investors from the UAE, calling on Gulf businesses to consider the UK as a welcoming, liberal and lucrative investment destination.   He highlighted the UK economic recovery and outlined our standing as an internationally competitive location.   He spoke about the Government’s desire to work closely with, and through the private sector to forge the way ahead for the future.

Mr Cable’s interlocutors talked of the value Abu Dhabi places on the regulatory and fiscal stability of the UK, contrasting this unfavourably with their recent experience of tariff change in other investment destinations.  Dr Cable was able to give assurances that UK Electricity Market Reform (EMR) was now agreed, our new nuclear programme was going ahead, that we remain the largest investors in offshore-wind globally and that the Green Investment Bank was there to support investment in to the sector. Dr Cable also called on the CEO of Taqa, the Abu Dhabi energy company which has invested in predominantly marginal fields in the North Sea where they have increased output by over 100%.


There was wide coverage of the visit in the local print and TV media as well as coverage through social media. The reporting highlighted messages around the UK’s economic recovery, the Gulf Investment Team, the growth in UK exports to the UAE and British ambitions to invest in both the oil sector and Expo 2020 (the local flavour of the month).


Dr Cable’s presence demonstrated both to the UAE’s leadership and the British Business Community that the UK continues to remain engaged with this important market and country His strong messaging about the UK’s industrial strategy against a backdrop of growing confidence and good news about the UK economy, resonated with each of Dr Cable’s interlocutors.  The strength of the UK business representation at both shows demonstrated success for UKTI’s work in engaging businesses to drive an export led recovery. This gave a clear, confident British message about the UK’s engagement in the UAE and the world-leading innovation our companies can offer.



The purpose of the FCO Country Update(s) for Business (”the Report”) prepared by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is to provide information and related comment to help recipients form their own judgments about making business decisions as to whether to invest or operate in a particular country. The Report’s contents were believed (at the time that the Report was prepared) to be reliable, but no representations or warranties, express or implied, are made or given by UKTI or its parent Departments (the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)) as to the accuracy of the Report, its completeness or its suitability for any purpose. In particular, none of the Report’s contents should be construed as advice or solicitation to purchase or sell securities, commodities or any other form of financial instrument. No liability is accepted by UKTI, the FCO or BIS for any loss or damage (whether consequential or otherwise) which may arise out of or in connection with the Report.

Countries: United Arab Emirates
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