By Claire West

The UK-UAE Business Council met today for the third time, in Dubai, bringing together business leaders from the UK and UAE to further drive commercial ties between the two countries.

UK companies are exploring opportunities to participate in the UAE’s £1.4 trillion of construction and infrastructure development programme and the development of its healthcare sector which will be worth £7.4 billion by 2015. The UAE is also a major investor in the UK, with over £5billion invested in our critical energy, infrastructure and regeneration sectors throughout the regions.

Inaugurated one year ago in Abu Dhabi, the Business Council is co-chaired by His Excellency Nasser Ahmed Alsowaidi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and Mr Samir Brikho, CEO of AMEC.

The industry and entrepreneur led Business Council supports the UK and the UAE governments’ commitment to strengthening trade ties through the Joint Economic Council under the chairmanship of Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment and His Excellency Sultan al Mansouri, UAE Minister of the Economy.

The Business Council discussed plans for a leadership development programme and cooperation between UK and UAE companies in third countries. The first example of this was the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between al Thani and Shell, witnessed by Lord Green and HE Sultan al Mansouri at the event.

UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Green said:

“The friendship between Britain and the UAE is very important and our commercial relationship continues to strengthen. The UAE has ambitious development plans, which British business and expertise can make a huge contribution towards and are already helping to realise.

“The UK is committed to making it quicker and easier for British businesses and Gulf states to do business together. Both countries are targeting a 60% increase in trade from 2009 levels, to reach £12 billion by 2015. I was delighted to hear about the progress that the Business Council has made in deepening the ties between the UK and the UAE.”

Samir Brikho, Co-Chair of the UAE-UK Business Council and Chief Executive of AMEC said:

“With each Business Council meeting we are creating deeper relationships and developing broader opportunities for trade and investment between the UAE and UK. The Prime Minister’s endorsement today of the Business Council’s objectives demonstrates the United Kingdom’s commitment at the highest level to the long lasting relationship between our two countries.”

His Excellency Nasser Ahmed Alsowaidi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development said:

“The Council is a natural development involving two countries that for decades have enjoyed close cultural and economic ties. Good business opportunities and wider practical solutions to all kinds of challenges should result from this new Think Tank, and I am personally optimistic regarding its future.”