Business Secretary Vince Cable has paid his first visit as Business Secretary to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to boost trade with the region and encourage more inward investment into the UK.
The two-day trip, to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, forms part of efforts to meet UK Trade and Investment’s (UKTI) target of increasing bilateral trade with the UAE in goods and services to £12bn by 2015.
In Dubai Dr Cable will also meet with some of the 170 UK businesses exhibiting at the international fire and security show Intersec.
Kent-based Ward Security, which specialises in security dog training and handling services, were among the exhibitors.
David Ward, Director of Ward Security, has worked closely with UKTI on his export strategy. He said: “By attending this Intersec event, we are hoping to build on our work to date with UKTI and tap into global demand in the UAE, but also across the world.
“Our attendance at Intersec in Dubai will help us gather marketing information to help us determine whether there is a market for our specialised services in the UAE and, if so, how we can deliver our dog training and handling services effectively in these markets.”
Terry Dunk, International Trade Adviser for UKTI South East said:
“In 2012 the South East exported almost £7 billion of goods and services to the UAE
“UK companies are recognising current and future opportunities across numerous sectors in the Middle East. Attending exhibitions such as Intersec show that local companies like Ward Security, recognise the importance of visiting the market and building relationships with key partners.
“Opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa region are vast and include the 2022 Qatar World Cup, development of a rail network and large opportunities in the healthcare and life science sectors.
“Demand across the South East to exploit these opportunities is high.”
Any company interested in finding out if the Middle East is right for them can call 08452 789 600 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.”
On the first day of his trip Vince Cable will encourage businesses in the UAE to invest in the UK by launching a new UKTI Gulf Investment team, sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“Growth remains our country’s top priority. Encouraging firms to export more to emerging economies has formed a key part of the government’s industrial strategy – helping us stay ahead of the competition in key sectors where we are global leaders.
“UK exports of goods to the United Arab Emirates were up 11 per cent until September last year, generating over £6 billion – a major success story for our commercial partnership.
“The UAE’s long-term prospects remain strong and I am looking forward to meeting with businesses and key decision makers to take forward British interests in my first visit to the country.”
The creation of the UKTI Gulf Investment Team follows the development of two British Business Centres in the UAE (Dubai, due to open this March, and Abu Dhabi, due to open this October). They will include business support hubs which will give advice, IT support and office space to businesses looking to set up in the UAE.
A survey of Middle Eastern perceptions of trading with the UK is being launched to coincide with the trip. It found key strengths include political stability, the banking and financial system, stable and effective regulation and the education system.
Business representatives from the Middle East also ranked the UK fourth best for investment and saw it as a key destination for accessing the rest of Europe, but high costs and taxes coupled with low growth were seen as particular barriers.
Dr Cable will also speak to His Highness Sheikh Ahmed, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, about High Value Opportunities for UK business in the aerospace sector.