LONDON: Lord Dominic Johnson, the UK’s minister for investment, is visiting Kuwait and the UAE this week to promote and develop multi-billion-dollar trade and investment relationships with these key Gulf nations, the Department for Business and Trade said on Wednesday.
In Kuwait, he will hold talks with government ministers and leading investment partners, including the Kuwait Investment Authority, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary, the National Bank of Kuwait, and the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority.
On Wednesday, he met Kuwait’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, with whom he discussed the historical ties and strategic partnership between their countries, along with the need to attract investors and encourage British companies to invest and establish a presence Kuwait, according to state-run Kuwait News Agency.
Johnson will fly from Kuwait to the UAE to hold roundtable talks with representatives of Rolls Royce and BAE, before meeting officials from the Dubai International Financial Center, the Investment Corporation of Dubai, and other key stakeholders, officials said.
In addition to promoting the UK as an attractive place to invest, Johnson will also stress that a trade deal between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council will be a huge catalyst for investment on both sides. The next round of ongoing talks on a trade agreement are expected to take place in the coming weeks.
“The UK and Kuwait have a growing, dynamic trade and investment relationship, and I’m delighted to be here this week as the Kuwait Investment Authority celebrates 70 years since it was the first sovereign wealth fund to be created in the Gulf,” Johnson said.
“As we celebrate this important milestone, we want to forge a new industrial partnership between our two great nations, which already enjoy huge levels of investment between each other.
“The UAE is also a hugely significant partner of ours. In 2021, we had over £12 billion ($15.5 billion) of investment stock and nearly £22 billion of bilateral trade, and through a UK-GCC trade deal we can strengthen our ties with UAE and Kuwait even further.”
The minister’s visit to the region follows the release last week of a world investment report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development that revealed the UK has the highest level of Foreign Direct Investment stocks in Europe, worth $2.7 trillion, and the third-highest in the world, after the US and China.
The total value of trade in goods and services, including exports and imports, between the UK and Kuwait stood at £4.7 billion in the four quarters to the end of 2022, an increase of 93.8 percent, or £2.3 billion in current prices, from the previous year.
In 2021, the value of inward FDI stock in the UK from Kuwait was £367 million, an increase of £14 million (4 percent) year-on-year, according to the Department for Business and Trade.
The total value of trade in goods and services, including exports and imports, between the UK and UAE was £21.6 billion in the four quarters to the end of 2022, an increase of 63.0 percent, or £8.3 billion in current prices, from the previous year.
The UAE was the UK’s 19th-largest trading partner during the four quarters to the end of 2022, accounting for 1.3 percent of total UK trade.
In 2021, the value of outward FDI stock from the UK in the UAE was £5.2 billion, representing 0.3 percent of total UK outward FDI stock. Inward FDI stock in the UK from the UAE was worth £7.4 billion, accounting for 0.4 percent of the total UK inward FDI stock.