31st March 2020

United Arab Emirates – United Kingdom Business Council Update

With our formal appointment as Co-Chairs of the UAE - UK Business Council completed, we believe it is essential to provide you with important updates on the future of our organisation during this unprecedented time.

COVID-19 is impacting every aspect of global society, and the fundamental imperative is for us all to stay safe and healthy. We hope you are managing as best as you can in dealing with the immediacy of the challenges presented.

We do not underestimate the difficulties Members are currently facing, and we will do all we can as a Business Council to work with you, our Members, to adapt and rebuild from the impact of COVID-19.

We are entirely confident that the UAE’s and UK’s long-term prospects remain strong, and the Council will have an even more critical role as we chart a course forward.

To that end, we are committed to ensuring that the Council continues to undertake fundamental changes to refocus its mandate and delivers maximum value to businesses in both the UK and the UAE. Fundamentally, we wish to make certain that despite ongoing uncertainties, the building blocks for a new refreshed Business Council continue to be put in place over the months ahead.

As Co-Chairs, we are currently reviewing the overall direction and priorities of the Council and we look forward to seeking your views towards the end of April.

One of the outcomes of this will be refocussing existing working groups and establishing new ones. The first priority for each group will be to collectively address sector-specific challenges we face as a result of COVID-19, and we are committed to supporting our members with this.

Our success as a Council will be underpinned by regular dialogue and updates, and to that end we wanted to share important developments:

Governance and Joint Secretariat

The Council is being incorporated as a UK Company Limited by Guarantee to create a robust corporate structure that will enable us to undertake a broad range of programming and initiatives.

We are assessing how best to proceed with this in light of COVID-19 and updates will be provided soon.

Key Dates

The intention is for the Council to be re-launched formally in summer 2020 and to establish a trajectory to be a world-leading independent bilateral business entity by the end of 2021.

The next meeting of the Business Council has been scheduled to be held on 7 July 2020 in London. However, we will continue to review this based on the COVID-19 situation.

Regular and open dialogue remains essential. Therefore, Rachel Elks (UK Members) and Amna Fikri (UAE Members) should be your first point of contact for any enquiries.

As this challenging period for the global community continues to unfold, we would like to wish you all good health and assure you that the UAE-UK Business Council remains steadfast in its efforts to develop new opportunities for trade and cooperation between our two countries.

We remain fully committed to supporting the interests of all of our members and look forward to working with you all in the coming period ahead.

Yours truly,

H.E. Ahmed Al Sayegh  & Sir Edward Lister