UAE-British bilateral trade surpasses target two years early

British officials said the increase had been achieved across a wide range of sectors including energy, financial and professional services.
London Gateway, in which DP World was investing £1.5 billion over 10 to 15 years, is a major deep-sea container port equipped to meet the needs of 21st-century shipping. Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg News
London Gateway, in which DP World was investing £1.5 billion over 10 to 15 years, is a major deep-sea container port equipped to meet the needs of 21st-century shipping. Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg News

London// Bilateral trade between the UAE and Britain has risen above the countries’ jointly agreed annual target of £12 billion (Dh69.26bn) two years ahead of schedule.

The two governments, and chief executives of the UAE-UK Business Council, will now discuss a new target for further growth, Tobias Ellwood, the British foreign minister responsible for the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, told an eve-of-National Day event in London.

Abdulrahman Al Mutaiwee, the UAE’s ambassador to Britain, said the achievement was a “significant milestone”, close to doubling mutual trade since the original target was set in late 2009.

British officials said the increase had been achieved across a wide range of sectors including energy, financial and professional services, education, health care and infrastructure, as well as defence and aerospace. The UAE became the 10th biggest export market for British goods on the basis of the 2013 figures, while Emirati exports to the UK also showed significant growth. Figures from the UK’s Office for National Statistics show that bilateral trade reached £12.36bn last year, indicating that the target had been “met and surpassed two years ahead of the 2015 deadline”.

Samir Brikho, who co-chairs the UAE-UK Business Council, said the council, established in 2011, was proving “a really dynamic engine for growth”. The task was now to set further challenging goals for 2015 and beyond, he added in a statement.

In addition to the increase in trade, Mr Ellwood hailed “rich and diverse” UAE investment in Britain, notably the ambitious London Gateway port project and London Array, describing the latter as the world’s largest offshore wind farm that would meet the power needs of more than 470,000 homes.

He said London Gateway, in which DP World was investing £1.5bn over 10 to 15 years, was a major deep-sea container port equipped to meet the needs of 21st-century shipping.

When fully developed, with its vast logistics park, it would generate up to 36,000 jobs. Work started in 2010 and the first ship was handled a year ago after the opening of the first phase.

Speaking at the London reception to mark the UAE’s 43 years of statehood, Simon Moore, London Gateway’s chief executive, said the port had already created employment for 11,000.

He said it was Britain’s biggest civil engineering project, the investment funded entirely by DP World at no cost to taxpayers.

Sultan bin Sulayem, the DP World chairman, told The National at the same event: “It is all developing so fast. I am very pleased with the progress.

“We have more than 30 years’ experience of running Jebel Ali and this give us enormous knowledge and great ability to attract companies. We know our business very well.”

business@thenational.ae

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Published: December 2, 2014 04:00 AM

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