by David Manson, Country Head UK, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the UK’s largest civil export market in the Middle East and the 12th biggest globally (UKTI, Dec 2015). Bilateral trade is now heading for GBP15bn per annum with an annual GDP growth rate averaging 4.76% since 2000. There are presently some highly visible opportunities in transport, infrastructure and engineering (and their respective supply chains) as the UAE continues to develop regional and global communication hubs, whilst opportunities exist to a raft of British and European exporters in many industries, including a rich seam of service and professional industries as the UAE develops a dynamic tertiary sector.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) has typified this growth story in building out and developing the UAE economy in partnership with a broad range of clients, and has been increasingly focused on the new opportunities afforded to international investors into the Emirates. This growth has manifested itself initially in increasing volumes of international transactions for its UAE clients, but increasingly to more physical investment in joint ventures and subsidiaries being established onshore which we have facilitated. This opportunity has become all the more significant as it coincides with many regional and international banks reducing capability in the Middle East region, redeploying capital in core businesses (or to meet regulation) and opting instead to support their clients through institutional partnerships. ADCB has made the strategic decision to extend our relationships with these clients (often via their primary banks) and to support them more directly.