Business Secretary Vince Cable has embarked on his first trip 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 at the weekend 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. Current trade and investment levels are on track to meet those targets, reaching £10 billion in 2012.
On the first day of his trip Vince Cable encouraged 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.
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The taskforce will be headed by accountants’ firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and will find 100 new investment opportunities, with the intent to lead to 15 concrete investment projects from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE by the end of March 2015.
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 contain business support hubs, which will give advice, IT support and office space to businesses looking to set up in the UAE. This will help British companies who are looking to bid for some of the £1.2 billion of business up for grabs a competitive edge to win and deliver the site of the upcoming world fair ‘Expo 2020’ in Dubai.
Dr Cable also planned to meet with Gloucestershire-based laundry business, Paragon, as it prepared to launch a new facility in Mussafah in Abu Dhabi, initially creating 120 jobs with the intention to rise to more than 300 with more than £12m investment.