Bright Prospects for UK Firms in Gulf Region

UK sources say the failure of a deal to sell the Eurofighter Typhoon shown on display at a military show launching the 2013 IDEX in Abu Dhabi to the UAE has had no lasting effect on prospects for other sales to the Emirates.(Photo: KARIM SAHIB/AFP)

LONDON IDEX brings British industry back to the United Arab Emirates for a big exhibition for the first time since government-to-government discussions over a new defense and industrial partnership collapsed in a blaze of publicity more than 12 months ago.

Most of that coverage was generated by BAE Systems' failure to land a multibillion-pound deal to sell Typhoon combat jets to the UAE. The UK government, including Prime Minister David Cameron, had invested considerable effort to seal the deal.

The larger Anglo-UAE discussions, though, concerned much more than the Typhoons: They covered closer diplomatic and military cooperation along with the joint development of a UAV and other industrial cooperation.

Still, industry executives in Britain said, the collapse of the talks doesn't appear to have left any legacy of mistrust that might surface at IDEX.

"The atmospherics between the two sides at the highest levels will be interesting," said one executive. "Things went quiet for a while, but a lot of work has continued and I see no signs of any bitterness over the failure to cement a deal. If anything, IDEX will show British industry is as enthusiastic as it has ever been to address the UAE's military and security requirements.

"The recen....

read more from
chief executivefirst timemanaging directorfive yearsmiddle east