ABU DHABI, Against the backdrop of the current Brexit Negotiations in the United Kingdom, the UAE-UK Business Council continued to review the opportunities that may arise from this.

Samir Brikho, Co-Chair of the UAE-UK Business Council, said, "With the ongoing Brexit negotiations, the UK is entering a new chapter in its history and looks forward to an economic future that grows in partnership with friends around the world. The UAE is a key friend and partner to the UK and going forward we hope to be able to build on the already strong trade and investment links."

In addition to the activities being led by its seven sector working groups, the Business Council was interested to hear presentations on the introduction of VAT in the UAE and on Expo 2020. Not only was the UK one of the first countries publicly to support Dubai's bid to host Expo 2020, it was also one of the first countries to announce publicly its official participation after the bid was won.

The Business Council heard from Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Group CEO of Mubadala Investment Company, about the future vision of the UAE. It also heard from Baroness Fairhead, the UK Minister for Trade and Export Promotion. Baroness Fairhead set out how important the UAE and UK are to each other as trading partners, with the UAE being the UK's thirteenth largest export market, the only Gulf state in the top 20.

Nasser Alsowaidi, Co-Chair of the UAE-UK Business Council, expressed his sincere appreciation to the Abu Dhabi Chamber for hosting the 12th round meeting of the UAE-UK Business Council, as well as to both the UAE Embassy in the United Kingdom and the UK Embassy in the United Arab Emirates for their continuous collaboration in supporting the initiatives of the Business Council. He highlighted as well on the diligent work of the initial appointed team and in their contribution to the achievement of the first strategic target of the Business Council.

Similarly, Alsowaidi voiced his enthusiasm to continue working assiduously to achieve the new objectives of the Business Council, along with the recently appointed UAE members and Co-Chairs of the seven working groups, representing both the private and public sectors of the United Arab Emirates.

The British Ambassador to the UAE, Philip Parham, said, "The bilateral trade relationship is in great shape, increasing by over 13% from GBP12.9bn in 2015 to GBP14.6bn in 2016. The UAE-UK Business Council continues to pay an important role in creating and supporting the conditions for further increase in bilateral trade and investment."

At its eighth plenary meeting in May 2015, the Business Council adopted a new target to contribute to GBP25 billion of bilateral trade and investment by 2020.

The bilateral relationship continues to be strong and mutually beneficial. Bilateral trade in 2016 was 14.6 billion sterling, up from GBP 12.9 billion in 2015. Outside of Europe, the UAE is the UK's third biggest export market, behind only the US and China.

The Business Council has seven Working Groups: Energy, Education & Training, Healthcare, Security & Aerospace, SMEs, Infrastructure, Financial & Professional Services.

Source: Emirates News Agency