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The UK-UAE Relationship

The UK and UAE have a deep and historic partnership which supports jobs and prosperity for both countries and peace and moderation in the Middle East.

For two centuries, Britain and the states which formed the UAE have been allies and security partners.

This partnership has endured and deepened into a mutually beneficial exchange of people, trade and ideas.

It is a friendship based on shared values including tolerance, peaceful co-existence, and respect for all cultures and religions.

Special Olympics Team GB UAE.jpeg

A UAE embassy official meets one of the coaches of the British team, just before the UAE hosted the Special Olympics in 2019.

Today, the UAE is home to over 100,000 British citizens, 5,000 UK companies, and visited by over a million Britons yearly. 


In return, thousands of Emirati visitors come to the UK as tourists, to study in our academic institutions, to invest and to work with British companies.

Our leaders are united on the world stage, committed to working together to enhance security, stability, and prosperity in a troubled region.

In December 2020, the UK and the UAE reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening both economies, highlighting future cooperation across priority areas such as life sciences, healthcare, future technologies and digital innovation, renewable energy, space, infrastructure, education, tourism, food security, and financial and professional services.


Partners for prosperity

  • UK-UAE trade is over £15 billion per year

  • The UAE is the UK’s fourth biggest trading partner outside Europe and the UK’s largest export market in the Middle East.

  • Over 5,000 British businesses operate in the UAE, and the UK is one of the UAE’s largest sources of foreign direct investment

Partners in investments

  • Abu Dhabi United Group owns Manchester City FC and has transformed the east of the city

  • London Gateway freight port is owned and being further developed by DP World

  • Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company owns the London Excel arena and gave rent free access for an NHS Nightingale hospital during the pandemic.


Partners in green energy and conservation

  • The UAE has agreed a new multibillion-pound investment partnership with the UK to invest in British clean energy and infrastructure. UAE-based Masdar has invested in wind farms that can power over a million British homes and reduce CO2 emissions. London Array is the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, Dudgeon Offshore off the North Norfolk coast and Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating wind farm.

  • Working with DP World, the Zoological Society of London will help co-curate Expo 2020’s ‘Conservation for Hope’ programme, an event-time initiative focusing on wildlife and ecosystem conservation and restoration as a means to ensure environmental sustainability and the safeguarding of our planet.


Partners in education

  • Thousands of Emiratis come to study at British universities every year

  • 58 British schools are located in the UAE including Wellington and Repton School.

  • British Universities in the UAE: Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Exeter, Heriot- Watt, London Business School, Manchester Business School, Middlesex, Stirling, Strathclyde, Sunderland and Middlesex.

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