Vince Cable, the UK Secretary for State for Business, Innovation and Skills, today launched the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Gulf Inward Investment team in Dubai to attract more investment from the UAE to Britain.
The United Kingdom has traditionally placed an emphasis on trade but it is now refocusing efforts towards attracting investment.
“We do have a lot to offer and a few Emirati companies have realised this,” Mr Cable told reporters and business representatives.
The Dubai-based ports operator DP World, for example, has invested £1.5 billion (Dh9.04bn) in the London Gateway container port.
He highlighted both the UK economy’s strong recovery and the welcoming nature of Britain as a place to invest.
“Britain is now growing strongly for the long term [it’s] not just a short-term burst of energy,” he said, adding that the UK has “no problems about welcoming good inward investors in the UK”.
While trade between the UK and UAE is expected to reach £12bn by 2015, Mr Cable did say not how much additional investment the government wanted to generate from the UAE, saying it was difficult to quantify.
The professional services firm PwC will run the UKTI Gulf Inward Investment team, which will have a a staff of 20 across the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Four team members will focus on the UAE.
He said that the UK is working to “up our game on taxation” – reducing corporate taxation from 28 per cent currently to about 20 per cent by the end of next year.
Mr Cable pointed out that while London is known as a great city to do business, attractive commercial hubs are mushrooming across the country. These include biotechnology clusters in the London-Oxford-Cambridge triangle, and IT and creative innovation clusters in Manchester, Dundee, and Cardiff.
Mr Cable, who is on his first trip to Dubai, described himself as being “overwhelmed” by the city.
“With Expo 2020, the focus will remain on [Dubai] for some years and we want to work with the Emirates as part of that undoubted success story.”
Pointing to the success of the 2012 Olympics in London, he said that the UK has a good track record of hosting large events and that an array of engineering, architecture and construction companies would be pitching for business here in the run-up to Expo 2020.