UAE a significant trading partner of UK: Lord Mayor


Vincent Keaveny speaks during the interview. WAM

The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Vincent Keaveny, has expressed his hope to strengthen the ties between the UAE and the United Kingdom, particularly in the financial and professional services sector.

 “I am looking at the breadth of the financial services ecosystem here in the UAE during my two-day visit,” he told the Emirates News Agency (WAM) in an exclusive interview in Dubai. “I am meeting a number of leaders here in Dubai, for instance, the Governor {Essa Kazim} of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and in Abu Dhabi, I will be meeting with representatives of a number of organisations,” he said.

Vincent Keaveny is the 693rd Lord Mayor of the City and heads the City of London Corporation. He is the international ambassador for the UK’s financial and professional services sector.

He said that the UK is focusing on the Green Finance Agenda and is really looking forward to the work done in the Emirates around the moves towards net zero. “I know that Emirates has ambitious plans to achieve net zero.”The UAE is hosting the COP28 climate conference in Dubai in November 2023. “We are thinking how we can work together through sharing our experience since hosting of the COP26 in the United Kingdom, to make COP28 a huge success,” Vincent Keaveny said.

The Lord Mayor of the City of London said that the UK has a very good trade relationship with the GCC region as a whole. The trade is around 35.5 billion British pounds and the UAE makes up roughly about a third of that, so it is a significant trading partner of the UK.””Of course, we would always like it to be greater and I am sure that would be beneficial for both the UAE and the UK,” he said, urging more should be done to bring the two countries closer in the financial and professional services sectors.

He revealed the status of the ongoing negotiations of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the GGC and the United Kingdom and said that the City of London strongly supports {the agreement}. “In the first round of talks completed last week for the FTA, there are proposals on the table for both sides.

The GCC member states and the UK are considering {them},” Vincent Keaveny said, adding that the second stage of negotiations will commence in the coming weeks. However, he said that it is always difficult to negotiate these things at a multilateral level with a number of member states involved. “but I am optimistic, probably more optimistic than the last time when I visited the UAE a year ago about being able to get a GCC agreement finalized.” “I am hoping that we will move ahead, and with the political will on both sides, we might get an agreement in the first half of 2023.” “As lord Mayor of the City of London one of the things I am doing on my travels in the region, is encouraging the member states really to negotiate, and engage with the negotiations to work hard to get an agreement in place,” he added.

The Lord Mayor of the City of London said that there are a whole host of business opportunities in the UK at the moment and it is a very good time to look at these investments. He named sectors for potential investment, which includes green sustainable investment, particularly in the infrastructure sector, and Financial Technology (Fintech), saying that “Emirati investors should certainly be looking {to invest in these areas} in the UK at the moment.” The UK is the leading exporter of financial services across the world, to the value of £64bn, according to the City of London Corporation. The city houses more foreign banks, and accounts for more international bank lending, than any other centre.

Meanwhile, the UK’s main stock indexes rallied sharply on Tuesday, extending gains for a third straight session as the fall in global bond yields spurred appetite for riskier equities, with investors scooping up beaten down shares of financials, retailers and commodity companies.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 ended up 2.6%, at its highest level since Sept. 23 and logging its best daily performance since June 24.

The FTSE 250 midcap index closed up 3.1%, at its highest level in a week and posting its best one-day percentage gain since March 16.

Banks gained 4% led by a 4.5% jump in shares of HSBC Holdings as the Asia-focused lender was considering a sale of its multi-billion dollar business in Canada to beef up returns as demanded by its largest shareholder.



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