Sunday 9, October 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai, recently went on a mission to London, connecting with select investor groups, law firms and consultants, and updating them on the new opportunities and changing business landscape in the emirate.

Officials from Dubai FDI along with partners specialised in company formation interacted with senior business executives and investors in the UK across a series of meetings held recently in London. Legal and policy reforms as well as the initiatives being implemented in Dubai to enhance competitiveness and ease of doing business were the focus of the discussions.

“Relations between the UAE and the UK have remained dynamic while also firmly rooted in history. Our ties extend to all spheres – people-to-people, government-to-government and business-to-business. Both countries are looking at a bilateral trade target of around 120 billion dirhams (GBP 25 billion) for 2020 and the UAE’s ambitious push towards a knowledge economy now present unprecedented opportunities,” said Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai FDI who led the mission to UK.

Trade between Dubai and the UK was worth AED29.7 billion in 2015 and the European nation is one of the top source countries for foreign direct investment (FDI) into UAE. Dubai FDI highlighted the ambitious infrastructure projects being launched in Dubai as the city gears for the Expo 2020 as well as the emirate’s focus on innovative technologies and services across sectors such as healthcare, Islamic finance, clean energy, exports and SMEs during the discussions with British investors.

“Service efficiencies and sustainability are the guiding principles of development in Dubai as the city aims to be a knowledge-driven society of happy and creative people. Years ago Dubai launched a Green Economy Partnership to promote clean technology innovations. The Dubai Plan 2021 now emphasises on sustainability, innovation, competitiveness and happiness as the pathways to growth, which means cutting edge expertise across sectors will find the right platform in the city to grow further and expand,” added Al Gergawi.

The Dubai FDI started its UK itinerary with a ‘Doing Business in Dubai Forum’ hosted along its partner, The Sovereign Group. Specialist speakers briefed the audience on the opportunities for British businesses in Dubai as well as on how to set up a business in the emirate and the legal provisions governing business activity. Reed Smith, another of the partner institutions joined Dubai FDI in a seminar on international trade and regulatory compliance.

A sector-specific briefing on setting up business in Dubai was conducted for members of the Middle East Association (MEA) by Dubai FDI along with its partners, The Links Group and The Business Year. Key firms from the British Centres of Business (BCB), a UK Government initiative and partner of Dubai FDI, also joined the briefing. Travel & Tourism, Construction, Healthcare, Retail, Education, Renewables and Sustainability were the focus sectors.

Leading international law firm White & Case joined Dubai FDI and the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre a joint initiative of Dubai International Financial Centre and London Court of International Arbitration, in a round table to brief law firms in London on the arbitration services offered to investors in Dubai. The delegation also met with top decision-makers from major financial institutions, including Lloyds Development Capital, MasterCard Worldwide and Santander.

Sir Martin Donnelly, Permanent Secretary in the UK Department of International Trade received the Dubai FDI delegation and discussed ways to expand bilateral relations to new domains. The meeting was facilitated by Paul Fox, Consul General of the UK in Dubai. Knowledge-sharing on criminal proceedings and security issues was also discussed by the delegation during a meeting with Charles Henty from the Central Criminal Court of Old Bailey.

Ibrahim Ahli, Director of Investment Promotion Division in Dubai FDI, said the present level of Dubai-UK engagement is strong evidence of the importance of connectivity in competitiveness and foreign investment attraction.

“Over the last few years, Dubai FDI along with partners such as BCB, have enabled a significant number of innovative British enterprises to set up in Dubai and target wider regional markets. A good majority of the nearly 240,000 British citizens in the UAE live in Dubai and they comprise successful businessmen, entrepreneurs and professionals. For them, Dubai is a vantage point to grow and stay connected to home, while points across a wide geography comprising the Middle East, Africa, Indian Subcontinent and CIS are within 4-5 hours of flight,” added Ahli.