UK trade secretary Kemi Badenoch visits the UAE
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UK trade secretary Kemi Badenoch rounds off Gulf trip with visit to the UAE

UK trade secretary Kemi Badenoch rounds off Gulf trip with visit to the UAE

The British trade secretary’s visit to the UAE focused on growing bilateral economic relations and creating momentum for a UK-GCC trade deal

Marisha Singh
Kemi Badenoch in UAE for trade talks

Kemi Badenoch, the United Kingdom’s secretary of state for business and trade, concluded her visit to GCC countries with a visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The British minister was in the region to forward a comprehensive trade deal with Gulf countries to enhance economic relations between the UK and the bloc.

Badenoch met with the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi on May 26. The UAE delegation included Omar Sultan AlOlama, Minister of state for digital economy, and representatives from Mubadala.

The UAE is UK’s 19th largest trading partner with total trade in goods and services between the two countries increasing to GBP21.6bn in the four quarters of 2022, a growth of 63 per cent.

As per a tweet by the UAE minister, the two sides discussed  avenues for growth and innovation as well as investing in “industries of the future”. He emphasised the strong trading relations between the UK and the UAE which currently leads the Middle East region.

Bilateral trade

The UK minister’s visit also sought to build on inward investment to the UK – currently worth more than GBP15.7bn – delivering on the British government’s priority to grow the economy. The trip to the GCC comes in the backdrop of strong bilateral trade between the UK and the bloc which hit a high of GBP61.3bn in 2022.

As part of the talks which focused on the energy transition happening across the world, the UK trade secretary signed an MoU with Beeah group. The MoU is part of a growing trend of collaboration as green technology firms based across the UK are looking at the Gulf region’s pivot away from traditional energy sources.

Prior to her visit to the UAE, Badenoch was in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. She also meet the new secretary-general of the GCC, Jasem Al-Budaiwi. Her tour to the GCC follows the first meeting of the high-level UAE and UK strategic dialogue which took place in London earlier this month.

The UK began negotiations with the six-country bloc in 2022 and has completed three rounds of talks so far. Collectively, the GCC is equivalent to the UK’s seventh largest export market. Their demand for goods and services is expected to grow rapidly to almost GBP1tn by 2035 – an increase of over 75 per cent.

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