British government leads high-end retail to UAE

The British government is hopeful that high-income earners in the United Arab Emirates are ready to splash out on luxury brands exporting their products to the country.

Lord Ian Livingston, UK Minister of State of Trade and Investment, is visiting the UAE to launch a brand awareness campaign for British retail, luxury and design companies.

Livingston said the GREAT Week UAE is a “great opportunity” to “highlight British brands, retailers and luxury products.”

Livingston was speaking to the media during a roundtable at an event at the British Embassy in Dubai on Sunday.
He said the launch of GREAT Week, which is in the UAE for the first time, is an “important step in the UK’s relationship with the UAE.”

As part of GREAT Week UAE 35 British companies are showcasing their products, which kicked off at the British Embassy in Dubai on Sunday. Brands include Fortnum & Mason, which will launch its first international store in Dubai on March 21.
Other brands include LuLu Guinness, a designer handbag retailer with prices ranging from Dh400 to Dh 4000, Halycon Days, a men’s and women’s fashion accessory brand with prices for a bang starting at Dh695 for a bangle and as high as Dh5145 for a gift box. Bremont, the high end watchmaker is also showcasing their products this week

Livingston said the companies are able to export British innovation, fashion and culture to the Emirati market.

He added that there is potential for the British companies to establish their own operations as well as connect with local partners who can introduce them to the market.

Executives from the British companies are expected this week to meet with potential and existing UAE partners to discuss possibilities of expanding the presence of their brands.

On the potential to grow trade opportunities Livingston said, “apart from a growing retail market, the construction design sector [offers significant potential] with Expo, the airport and a number of new retail sites being developed.”

London is also bidding to become a hub for Islamic finance and last year it became the first non-Muslim country to host the World Islamic Economic Forum. Livingston said that Dubai, which is bidding to become the global hub of Islamic finance, will be key to the development of the sector but that the UK will offer its own incentives.

The UAE is the UK’s largest export market in the Middle East and is home to some 125,000 British expatriates. In 2011 the UAE’s average net income reached $35,770, according to the World Bank.


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