The Department for International Trade of the United Kingdom and the Ministry of Economy of the United Arab Emirates conducted their sixth Joint Economic Committee (JEC) in Dubai. The JEC was founded in April 2009 as part of a Memorandum of Understanding with the goal of reinforcing and improving bilateral cooperation between the two countries with a focus on trade and investment relations, creating opportunities and stimulating an exchange of technical know-how among our business communities. UK's largest trading partner in the Gulf, the United Arab Emirates, has a cumulative trade in goods and services between our countries of £17.8 billion in four quarters until Q2 2020.
The JEC co-chaired by Ranil Jayawardena M.P., Minister for International Trade of the United Kingdom and Dr. Thani Ahmad Al Zeyoudi Minister of State for Foreign Trade of the United Arab Emirates. On bilateral trade there were wide-ranging conversations, approaches towards providing priority sectors with more market access, along with Abu Dhabi's, Dubai's and Sharjah's local government representatives giving a presentations on the investment and trade opportunities within their Emirates.
The JEC addressed the role of the Business Council of the United Arab Emirates-United Kingdom, hearing from council co-chairs Lord Udny-Lister and H.E. Ahmed Al Sayegh Ali. The discussion included proposals to extend the membership of the business council to include more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs, as well as to conduct a series of campaigns on priority issues in 2021, such as food security, where there is great potential for closer interaction between enterprises in both our countries.
The JEC discussion centred on the ongoing Joint Trade and Investment Analysis between the United Kingdom and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as well. It is a joint duty to provide an overview of the trade and investment relationship between the GCC and the United Kingdom, to identify trade and investment obstacles, and to make specific recommendations for potential cooperation that can be made by both parties in order to deepen our long-term bilateral trade relationship.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the celebration of the strong cooperation between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates during the JEC, and the work to preserve trade flow, especially on products such as food and drink. The two delegations recognised the importance of closer cooperation in the post-pandemic recovery process to better restore technology, innovation and economic partnerships, all of which lead to enhanced economic diversification, smooth development, stability in the supply chain and a strong regulatory climate.