UAE - UK Business Council Hosts Teleconference with Ambassador Mansoor Abulhoul and Her Majesty’s Ambassador, Patrick Moody.

On 22 April, the UAE-UK Business Council (UUBC) hosted His Excellency Mansoor Abulhoul, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United Kingdom and HMA Patrick Moody, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the UAE for a teleconference with members of the UUBC, as well as members of the British Business Community in the UAE. The aim of the teleconference was to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the UAE, its impact on the business environment, the UAE’s immediate priorities in supporting individuals and businesses, and UAE-UK coordination to combat the pandemic.

After brief welcoming remarks by Mr Badr Al Olama from Mubadala, His Excellency Ahmed Al Sayegh, UAE Co-Chair of the UUBC, stated that these are unprecedented times and the Business Council does not take the problems faced by business lightly. HE Al Sayegh underlined he would do his utmost to assist Council Members and the broader UAE and UK business community in overcoming and adapting during the difficult period ahead. It was further noted by HE Al Sayegh that significant time and effort continues to be expended in developing a reform agenda for the UUBC, which aims to ensure the Council’s mandate provides real benefit and maximum value to businesses in both the UAE and the UK.

HE Al Sayegh was followed by Sir Ed Lister, UK Co-Chair of the UUBC, who recognised that COVID-19 is having a significant impact on the economies of both our countries, but stated that he had been inspired by stories of where our respective countries are assisting each other with the fight against Coronavirus. He advised that he looks forward to a time when we can move past COVID-19 and build on the strong foundation of partnership that already exists to secure a greater economic future for both the UAE and the UK.

Ambassador Abulhoul began his remarks by noting that during these uncertain times, the Council has become more important than ever, and encouraged all participants to increase their engagement with the UUBC over the coming period. He then offered his sincere gratitude to the NHS and UAE health care providers in supporting our communities during the pandemic.

Ambassador Abulhoul then briefed participants on the COVID-19 situation in the UAE, highlighting the UAE was committed to mitigating the economic impacts of the virus through various federal and Emirate-level stimulus packages. The Ambassador noted that on a broad scale, the UAE Government’s measures to date have rested upon two pillars. The first is ensuring that the financial sector remains robust, liquid, and functional in the face of substantial headwinds. While the second rests on providing direct support to businesses, with a particular focus on SMEs. It was underlined that at the fundamental level, these policies are continuing to evolve, and are aimed at protecting and easing the pressures facing all businesses, both large and small. The Ambassador highlighted that the UAE Government is hopeful that if these policies are successful, the foundations will be there for a swift “V-Shaped” post-pandemic recovery for the UAE economy.

For his part, HMA Patrick Moody stated that he was delighted to see all the hard work that has been going on behind the scenes to re-energise the UUBC and excited that the Council has two new dynamic leaders in HE Ahmed Al Sayegh and Sir Ed Lister to co-chair this work and lead the Council in a time of renewed joint trading ambition.

He thanked Ambassador Mansoor for his valuable insights into how the UAE is responding to COVID-19 and how UK companies here can benefit from the UAE’s new measures. He stated that the current situation highlights just how important it is to keep trade flowing and supply chains open so we can all have the essential supplies we need in this difficult time.

HMA Moody recognised the excellent work being done by the British Business Groups in the UAE and, in particular, their business continuity initiative to inform, link, and advocate for their members. He also recognised and gave thanks to those in the healthcare sector, stating that many UK companies are on the ground supporting in this area in the UAE.

Following HMA’s remarks, the Ambassadors heard suggestions and questions from executives of companies on quarantine measures, the opening of borders, stimulus packages, and the future of foreign economic policy.

Mr. Al Olama concluded the call by thanking the Ambassadors, the Co-chairs and attendees for their participation, and their shared commitment to supporting the bilateral relationship in these challenging times.