In the week preceding International Trade Week, Tech Week Humber 2021 recently welcomed headline partners Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) to Hull.
DMCC is a government entity established in 2002 to enhance commodity trade flows through Dubai, performing a range of roles which continue to position Dubai as the preferred destination for global commodities trade and DMCC as the world’s No.1 Free Zone.
As an active partner of Tech Week Humber, Hull and East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (HEY LEP) convened a roundtable in order to facilitate discussions around potential collaboration between the UAE and the wider Hull and East Yorkshire region.
Regional partners in attendance included representatives from the Department for International Trade (DIT), Hull City Council, ABP Hull, Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, plus several local companies with UAE business interests. Mr. Ahmed Bin Sulayem – Executive Chairman & CEO of DMCC addressed the roundtable delegates, virtually, from Dubai.
Discussions focused on a range of potential collaborative areas, with synergies being identified across key sectors, including Energy (Offshore, Logistics and Clean Growth), Agriculture and Tech/Digital. Other areas where there might be future opportunities include trade development, knowledge collaboration and commercial partnerships, health and digital solutions, freeport infrastructure, decarbonisation infrastructure, city centre real estate investment, business parks and speculative units and major infrastructure projects.
Business Development Manager, Phil Glover, who chaired the meeting on behalf of the HEY LEP said: “This was a fantastic opportunity to speak with Mr. Ahmed Bin Sulayem and understand how Hull and the East Riding could work more closely with the DMCC in Dubai by exploring collaborative approaches to increasing trade and investment between the two nations.”
DMCC could potentially act as a bridge for UAE companies seeking to explore opportunities across the Humber and vice versa for UK companies looking to use Dubai as a stepping-stone and wishing to scale-up. HEY LEP will also look to facilitate further discussions with interested parties, identifying any future trade missions to Dubai/UK, such as a possible DIT-led Digital trade mission which could take place during the current Dubai Expo and facilitating any inward visits to the region by UAE companies.
Antonio Tombanane – Founder of Tech Week Humber, added: “I am delighted to have worked with HEY LEP and host the UAE delegation from DMCC at the Guildhall in Hull. We have identified many opportunities to work directly with DMCC to promote trade and investments. Our aim at Tech Week Humber is to continue attracting international partners and promoting global trade.”
UK / UAE Collaboration in Context
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the UK’s most important trading partners and one of the fasting growing markets for UK exports. In 2018, exports to the UAE from the UK totalled more than £10.5bn, with a trade surplus of more than £4bn (ONS, 2018).
The UK also has a strong bilateral relationship with the Gulf Cooperation Council, of which the UAE is a member state, with a significant trading partnership that amounted to £41.4 billion in 2019. Following the conclusion of the UK-GCC Joint Trade and Investment Review, published in June 2021, both parties are seeking a deeper trade and investment relationship. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between the UK and GCC have recently commenced in Bahrain. An FTA is expected to enhance economic growth and prosperity by increasing import and export flows; increasing investment flows (both outward and inward) and enhancing productivity through a more efficient allocation of resources and greater openness to international competition. Opportunities are envisaged for sectors such as Food and Drink, Digital Trade and Renewable Energy.
The UAE is the UK’s 11th largest export market for legal services, with over 40 UK law firms based in the region with an estimated 900+ English and Welsh solicitors and 70+ Scottish solicitors practising in the UAE on a permanent basis.
Dubai is a regional hub and commercial capital for the Middle East, North Africa and beyond
Technology (AI, blockchain, big data, IoT), Telecoms, Prof Services, EdTech, Financial services, Cyber-Security, Agri-tech, Energy, Construction and Smart Cities, Digital health, Smart mobility, Logistics – all of these areas are of interest to DMCC and are reflective of many of the strengths also found in key sectors across the HEY LEP region.
UK businesses needing a global presence and wishing to expand overseas are seeing Dubai as a potential expansion destination and via Dubai having access to other new emerging markets. UK businesses looking to scale-up can take advantage of the new Scale2Dubai programme, recently launched to help start-ups and entrepreneurs in the UK to build their business in Dubai. The new Crypto Centre also offers opportunities for Blockchain Technology and Cryptographic companies.
DMCC is the strategic initiative of the Government of Dubai with a mandate dedicated to providing the physical, market and financial infrastructure required to set up and operate a thriving commodities marketplace in Dubai. DMCC is additionally the master developer and licensing authority of the DMCC Free Zone.
The UK Office for Investment (OfI) and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company – signed an agreement to significantly expand the UAE-UK Sovereign Investment Partnership (UAE-UK SIP), a framework for investment announced in March 2021. Over the next five years, the UAE-UK SIP will drive a significant increase in investment across a further three sectors: technology, infrastructure, and energy transition, as well as build on the existing programme of life sciences investment.
DMCC Future of Trade Report 2021
Exporting Guide to United Arab Emirates