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Dubai Chambers London hub opens to grow trade

Dubai International Chamber opens London office Dubai Chambers
The newly opened London office will allow Dubai Chambers to support UK businesses expanding into the UAE
  • Dubai Chambers opens first London office
  • Aims to boost trade and support businesses in UK and UAE
  • 9,200 UK firms were registered in Dubai at end of 2022

Dubai Chambers has opened an office in London aimed at boosting bilateral trade with the UK, as the number of British companies setting up in the emirate grew by a quarter in the last year.

“We are opening this office for three main reasons,” Khalid al Shamsi, vice president of operations at Dubai Chambers, told AGBI on the sidelines of the office’s launch last week. 

“Firstly, we want to attract a lot of UK companies and talent, to expand to Dubai.

“Secondly, we would like to also support UAE-based companies that are looking to expand to the UK.

“And thirdly, we want to boost bilateral trade to skyrocket numbers.” 

Al Shamsi said that Dubai International Chamber (DIC) plans to support UK businesses’ expansion into Dubai by helping them obtain trade licences and connecting them with some of the 105 business groups working with the chamber across various sectors.

“One of the most powerful pieces of legislation that we have advocated for was the introduction of 100 percent foreign ownership of a company,” Al Shamsi said.

“That caused a dramatic increase in the desire to do business in the Dubai market.” 

The number of UK companies registered with Dubai Chamber of Commerce reached 9,200 at the end of 2022, an increase of 69 percent since 2016. 

Wayne Merrick, managing director of CBD Corporate Services, which helps companies to set up in the UAE, said Dubai has emerged as “a magnet for UK businesses” looking to get a foothold in the Gulf.

Over the past 12 months, CBD Corporate Services has recorded 29 percent year-on-year growth in the number of UK companies setting up in the emirate.

Merrick said key sectors that have witnessed a significant influx of British companies include finance, technology, real estate, hospitality and logistics. 

PRO Partner Group in Dubai also helps British companies to set up and expand into the emirate and the wider GCC market.

It said it had seen a 23 percent increase in new British clients between June 2022 and June 2023. 

“We have recently seen a wide sector range of UK SMEs enter the UAE market, particularly in the fintech industry,” James Swallow, commercial director, said.  

“The UAE has a strong focus in providing incentive programmes to SMEs that support expansion into the region.” 

Global approach

The launch of DIC’s new London office – its first representative office in Europe and 20th worldwide – forms part of the Dubai Global initiative, which was launched last year.

It aims to open 30 new offices by the end of 2024 and 50 by the end of 2030. 

New offices were opened last month in Singapore and Indonesia. It is now looking at Japan. 

DIC is one of the three chambers operating under the Dubai Chambers umbrella – the other two are Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy.  

The UK ranked 15th on Dubai’s list of trading partners in 2022, with non-oil trade achieving year-on-year growth of 28.6 percent to reach AED29.7 billion. 

It contributed Dubai’s second largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in 2022, with 12 percent of the total, according to data from DubaiFDI, a division of the Department of Economy and Tourism. 

There has also been a rise in Russian FDI into Dubai.

CBD Corporate Services recorded a 34 percent increase by Russian companies into the UAE in 2022, mainly in the general trading and consulting sectors.

FDI is a key driver of Dubai’s economic ambitions. The Dubai Economic Agenda specifically aims to raise the level of FDI inflows to AED60 billion per year between 2023 and 2033, from the average AED32 billion per year seen in the preceding 10 years.