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Business secretary beats the drum for UK business in the UAE

Businesses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)are being encouraged to invest in the UK as part of Vince Cable’s first trip to the emirates as Business Secretary, in a bid 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 £12 billion by 2015.

On the first day of his trip 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.

The taskforce will be headed by accountants’ firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and will find 100 new investment opportunities which will lead to 15 concrete investment projects from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE by the end of March 2015.

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% 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.”

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.

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