Dubai 2011: UK building stronger bonds in Gulf
The importance of the Gulf region to the UK has been underlined here at the Dubai Airshow, particularly with ongoing Typhoon export campaigns in the UAE, Qatar and Oman.
Above: Eurofighter Typhoon in action at the show
The UK has a major pavilion at the show and a UK Trade and Industry spokesman described the significance of the regional relationships.
“When the new coalition government came to power it established a new National Security Council, one of whose first tasks was to assess where the UK wanted to deepen and broaden its relationships – and the Gulf States leapt out,” he explained.
“A Gulf Initiative was commissioned, aiming to develop and broaden relationships across the board – including foreign policy, security, energy, health and tourism as well as defence.
"The Prime Minister’s first overseas visits were to the Gulf region, and Her Majesty the Queen made a state visit to the UAE and Oman.”
There is a growing trend towards partnerships with local companies, rather than simply selling products and services into the region, and the UK hopes that the combination of British know-how and the UAE’s connections and ability to invest in R&D will create a force to be reckoned with, able to sell to third-party countries.
The UK’s ability to offer broad-based partnerships, in areas like security, ICT, and health is felt to offer a real advantage as a back-up to aerospace and defence offerings, promising the kind of useful offset work and technology transfer that the region is hungry for.