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20 March 2009 (PN 29)


Evidence on Middle East particularly welcomed

The Committee is undertaking an inquiry about promoting and increasing the UK's exporting capability throughout the world at a time of recession. Alongside that inquiry, it will look at trade with the Middle East and the Committee would be particularly interested in evidence relating to countries in the region.

Prosperity in a Changing World set out UKTI's strategic approach over the five years to 2010-11, to maximise the benefits of globalisation for both British companies and the UK economy. Resources have been focused on 17 emerging markets likely to offer the most promising and potentially lucrative business opportunities to British companies over the coming years (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam). Many of these countries have already been the subject of individual trade inquiries by the Business and Enterprise Committee or its predecessor, the Trade and Industry Committee.

Three of the emerging markets identified as priorities under UKTI's strategy are in this important region: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar. Saudi Arabia remains an important market for UK defence exports€”but it is also a huge market for civil exports and for exports of services. In 2008, UK exports of civil goods increased to over £2 billion over the first 11 months of the year (up from £1.9 billion in 2007), while exports of services were worth over £3 billion in 2007. The UAE is also an important market for the UK, with exports of goods worth £3.3 billion over the first 11 months of 2008 and exports of services worth a further £1.4 billion (2007 figure).

The global credit crunch has had an impact in the Gulf. Both Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi have built up significant financial reserves as a result of the recent oil price boom, and are using this funding to continue to diversify their economies away from a dependence on hydrocarbons; build essential infrastructure; and create the conditions for sustainable long-term economic growth. Saudi Arabia, in particular, is viewed by many as the engine for regional economic growth over the coming months, and is pressing ahead with a massive infrastructure programme: including the construction of 6 new Economic Cities, 3 new ports, a new railway line linking the Red Sea and the Gulf, new airports and other oil, gas and industrial infrastructure. Despite the challenging economic circumstances, British companies continue to prosper across Middle Eastern markets, with exports of goods to the Arab world up by over 23% over the first 11 months of 2008, to £11.4 billion.

The Committee would welcome written evidence before Monday 20 April 2009. Details on how to submit written evidence can be found here: or can be sent by Committee staff.

Further Information:

Committee membership is as follows:
Chairman: Peter Luff MP (Con) (Mid Worcestershire)
Mr Adrian Bailey (Lab) (West Bromwich West)
Roger Berry (Lab) (Kingswood)
Mr Brian Binley (Con) (Northampton South)
Mr Michael Clapham (Lab) (Barnsley West and Pen.)
Mr Lindsay Hoyle (Lab) (Chorley)
Miss Julie Kirkbride (Con) (Bromsgrove)
Anne Moffat (Lab) (East Lothian)
Mark Oaten (Lib Dem) (Winchester)
Lembit Öpik (Lib Dem) (Montgomeryshire)
Mr Anthony Wright (Lab) (Great Yarmouth)

Media Enquiries: Laura Humble, Tel 0207 219 2003/ 07917 488 489, email:
Specific Committee Information: Tel 020 7219 5777, email: