Suppliers urged to team up with British on arms

Idex 2013: With defence spending being cut in the UK, leading-edge technology firms may loose the funding to develop their projects.

Motorcyclists take part in the Idex opening ceremony. Reuters
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ABU DHABI // Partnerships with the UAE are key to the British defence industry at this year's Idex, according to the regional director of the UK Trade and Investment office's defence and security organisation.

With defence spending being cut in the UK, leading-edge technology firms may lose the funding to develop their projects, Alan Malpas said. "The declining budget in the UK means that there are some projects that we cannot take forward," he said.

"When we engage in partnerships, companies come and work together with the UAE and help each other develop these projects and exploit it.

"In addition to the industrial benefit that it brings to the UAE, these projects otherwise may die and go away."

His comments came after the British minister for defence equipment, support and technology, Philip Dunne, said that the UK is ready to purchase UAE-made military products.

Mr Dunne said his country was not restricted to only procuring defence capability from within its borders or selected partners.

"We recognise your vision to develop indigenous capability and I look forward to seeing this innovation and expertise on display over the coming days," he said.

"Even more than this, we recognise that, in the years to come, the supply of defence and security equipment will become increasingly two-way traffic."

The British ministry of defence (MoD) has developed a dedicated website for Emirati defence contractors to register on with a view to selling their products to the UK.

"We have set up the website and will be receiving Emirati presentations.

"We will review and, according to our requirements, engage the companies," a spokesman for the UK Trade and Investment office said.

"For US$240 [Dh881] a year contractors will get a book called The Contracts Bulletin that shows all the contracts from $1 to $1billion, and over 40 per cent of the MoD's procurement projects valued at £8bn [Dh46bn] go to foreign companies," he added.

The address for the site can be found at: