Source: Khaleej Times. A government-led delegation of UK investors and developers is arriving in the UAE as part of a drive to attract more investors to the post-Brexit country to build on bilateral investment and trade ties.
The delegation, led by Sir Edward Lister, who is the chairman of the government’s Homes and Communities Agency, will attend two set-piece events designed to reinforce investment and trade links between the UK and the Gulf as total international investment into the UK from the Middle East topped Dh15.1 billion in 2016.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, addressing the 37th GCC Summit in Manama in December, said her government was determined that the UK and the Gulf would “build a bold new chapter in our co-operation”. The trade and investment relationship between the UK and the Gulf is already significant, with bilateral trade in 2015 worth more than £30 billion.
In Manama, the six members of the GCC and the UK agreed to establish a GCC-UK Strategic Partnership to foster closer cooperation in the fields of politics, defence, security, development and trade.
Already, the UAE-UK Business Council has started to work towards an ambitious new goal of £25 billion annual trade by 2020.
Oxford Business Group (OBG), quoting former British Prime Minister David Cameron, said the new trade target was set after the council reached its earlier objective of £12 billion annual trade two years ahead of schedule.
“Trade between the Gulf and the UK was worth $33 billion in 2014 – more than our trade with India or China. The UAE is our 14th biggest export market. In spite of Brexit, the underlying property dynamics in the UK remain unchanged. The demand for all types of property is enormous. The UK government target for housing is 250,000 homes a year. In a good year, we are only achieving 170,000. So, the pressure is on for housing across the country and we need with that modern office accommodation as well as industrial and distribution warehousing,” Sir Edward said.
Faisal Durrani, head of research at Cluttons, said London residential property is a favourite asset class among the region’s wealthy. “London’s nickname as the ‘eighth emirate’ is further substantiated by the tremendous volume of investment it attracts from the Middle East and the GCC states in particular.”
“In a country where property is so well-protected by rule of law, the UK always makes a sound investment,” said Sir Edward, who is also the former deputy mayor of London.
Trade between the UK and the GCC has soared by 185 per cent between 1999 and 2015, with the UAE emerging as the UK’s third largest export partner outside Europe and the 11th largest trading partner for the UK overall. In the wake of Brexit, the UK’s international relationships are expected to be bolstered further.
Sir Edward, Manchanda and Durrani will speak at the Middle East Real Estate Forum, which includes two set-piece events designed to reinforce investment and trade links between the UK and the Middle East. The events are in Abu Dhabi on April 25 and Dubai on April 26.