Reem Al Hashimy and Dr Liam Fox during a meeting in Dubai on Thursday. WAM
UK International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox on Thursday broke ground on the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, officially marking the beginning of construction.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, Dr Fox announced that Pico, a global leader in total brand activation, and British construction firm McLaren are the official construction partners for the 3,417sqm, two-level UK Pavilion.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Fox said, “As the first major international moment after we leave the EU, Expo 2020 Dubai will mark the UK becoming a truly independent trading nation.
“The Expo provides a global platform to showcase our ambition for the future, and our participation provides excellent opportunities for UK businesses that have already won major contracts.
“I am delighted that our newly appointed construction partners Pico and McLaren will be working with our design team to bring the best of British creativity, innovation and expertise to the world.”
Earlier, Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, welcomed Dr Liam Fox, to Expo 2020 Dubai as the UK became the latest country to break ground on its pavilion.
A UK delegation led by Dr Fox was in the UAE to mark the start of construction for the UK Pavilion, located in Expo’s Opportunity District. The pavilion will explore the theme ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’, while also showcasing British expertise in the arts and the space sector.
Reem Al Hashemy said, “The UAE and the UK have long enjoyed a robust, mutually-beneficial relationship that will continue to thrive as we forge partnerships across all sectors, from trade and tourism to art, technology and education. Expo 2020 Dubai will provide a strong platform to expand those partnerships, and we congratulate the UK as it begins the construction of this dramatic, artistic, AI-inspired pavilion.”
Located in the ‘Opportunity’ district the UK Pavilion, designed by award-winning British artist Es Devlin OBE, will promote the UK as a world-class destination for trade, investment, education and tourism, and highlight the UK’s expertise in artificial intelligence and the space sector. It will also represent the UK with its ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’ theme.
After a competitive dialogue procurement contract exercise, Pico was selected for its long history in world expos having been involved in the delivery of over 80 country pavilions. With a 50-year track record and global presence, Pico has been in the UK since the 1980s and in the Middle East since the early 1990s.
McLaren brings a wealth of experience in the construction and development industry, with established operations in the UK and United Arab Emirates. The two companies will form a strong strategic partnership to deliver the UK Pavilion at the Expo.
Director at Pico Group, Jessie Ng, said, “Pico and McLaren are proud to have been chosen to build the UK Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai. Working with the Department for International Trade, we will build a unique and exciting structure that will showcase the best in UK innovation and reflect the opportunities within the UK’s participating theme for Expo 2020 Dubai - ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’.” UK companies have won a significant proportion of contracts related to the design, build and delivery of Expo 2020 Dubai, such as Hampshire-based Serco Group who acquired a ?140 million contract extension to maintain and operate the Dubai Metro - the main method of transportation for visitors to the Expo site.
And similarly, Dartford-based Laing O’Rourke won a 130 million pound contract to build the Leadership and Media Pavilions and the ‘Hammerhead’ access road to the central event space for Expo 2020 Dubai.
The UK will explore the possibility of free trade agreements, FTA, with individual countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council after leaving the European Union, a British minister told the Emirates News Agency, WAM, on Thursday.
“The question of whether bilateral trade agreements [with individual countries are possible] is something we want to explore after we have left the EU,” said Liam Fox, the UK Secretary of State for International Trade.
He added that the UK is not allowed to negotiate any FTAs until it leaves the EU.
The UK-GCC trade relations are strong as the UK exports to the region and investments from the region to the UK have increased in recent years, Fox continued.
According to the UK Department of International Trade, the UK exports more to the GCC countries than China, with trade between the UAE and the UK alone reaching GBP16.3 billion in the second quarter of 2018.
Expo 2020 Dubai, with its theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, offers all 192 participating countries an unparalleled opportunity for sharing innovations and knowledge, forging new business partnerships and promoting trade.