The United Arab Emirates – United Kingdom Business Council, at its 17th Plenary Meeting on 28th July 2020, formally appointed Sir Edward Lister, the British Prime Minister's Chief Strategic Advisor, as its UK Co-Chair. He takes over as Co-Chair from Mr Samir Brikho, former CEO of AMEC Foster Wheeler.
The appointment comes as the Council, which was set up in 2011 as a non-profit association to develop business relations and increase trade between the UAE and the U.K., broadens its mandate to support growing areas of bilateral opportunity.
Innovation, education and professional development, healthcare and life sciences, green energy and industry, have been identified as priorities for the Business Council. This align closely to the priorities of the UAE and UK Governments.
Both the UAE and UK are supporting the development of these sectors as economic engines that will deliver significant skilled employment and international trade opportunities.
Sir Edward Lister will serve alongside UAE Co-Chair, His Excellency Ahmed Al Sayegh, Minister of State to the UAE Cabinet and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Markets, the city's international finance centre.
The immediate priority for the Co-Chairs is to support the Council’s working groups, broaden the membership base, and facilitate ease of bilateral trade, especially for SMEs.
Sir Edward Lister commented:
"Greater investment, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing between the UK and the UAE can only benefit both our economies in the long term.
"I am honoured to serve as Co-Chair of the UAE–UK Business Council, where I will work on behalf of our members to enhance and grow the bilateral trading relationship between our two countries."
Ahmed Al Sayegh commented:
"We are privileged to have Sir Edward Lister's involvement as we develop the Council to expand our future-focused bilateral trade relationship.
"Sir Edward brings a wealth of experience across the industry sectors where there is a clear opportunity to establish new areas of collaboration and investment.
"Our priority as Co-Chairs is to establish platforms for a broader range of companies to participate in the UAE – UK trade relationship.
"On behalf of the members, I would like to sincerely thank Samir Brikho for his leadership and commitment as former UK Co-Chair, which has helped position our Business Council for the next phase of its evolution."
The UAE is the UK's 19th-largest trading partner with bilateral trade standing at £18.4m at the end of 2019 (provisional figures).