Blog

  • 29 Oct 2017

    Artificial intelligence (AI) can transform the productivity and GDP potential of the UK landscape. But, we need to invest in the different types of AI technology to make that happen.

    Research shows that the main contributor to the UK's economic gains between 2017 and 2030 will come from consumer product enhancements stimulating consumer demand (8.4%). This is because AI will drive a greater choice of products, with increased personalisation and make those products more affordable over time.

    Labour productivity improvements will also drive GDP gains as firms seek to "augment" the productivity of their labour force with AI technologies and to automate some tasks and roles. 

    There will be significant gains across all UK regions, with England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales seeing an impact from AI in 2030 at least as large as 5% of GDP.

    The value of AI is in enhancing and adding to what businesses can do now is large, if not larger than the impact of automation. It shows how big a game changer AI is likely to be – transforming businesses, people’s lives and society as a whole.

    But, for the UK to benefit fully, the following is required::

    • Create the right environment for existing and new businesses to innovate and make the most of the product, productivity and wage benefits that this technology can bring.

    • Look at how to obtain the right talent, technology and access to data to make the most of this opportunity. To meet this challenge, there needs to be even more innovative ways in developing technology skills in the UK.

    • Make sure that AI systems are adopted responsibly and that every part of society can reap the benefits. One AI Responsibility Report warns that effective controls need to be built into the design and implementation phase, so AI’s positive potential is secured. This will also address stakeholder concerns about it operating beyond the boundaries of reasonable control.

    There will be significant gains as a result of AI across all UK regions. 

    The larger total impact on GDP in some UK regions reflects the different trade patterns in each of the countries. England, and to some extent Scotland and Wales, have stronger trade links with Europe and the rest of the world. The gains through trade related to artificial intelligence are likely to put even higher upwards pressure on GDP in these countries by 2030.

    The Department for International Trade remains optimistic about the future of AI in the UK. Earlier this year, the UK Government announced a large-scale review into AI as part of the government’s five year Digital Strategy in order to identify the critical elements required  for the technology to thrive and grow on the UK.

    Led by Professor Dame Wendy Hall of the University of Southampton, as well as Jérôme Pesenti, the CEO of BenevolentTech, it aims to consider the ways in which the state and industry could collaborate to back the technology and eventually inform a sector deal.

    The Government has also announced an additional £17.3m funding boost from one of the UK’s Research Councils—the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council—for UK Universities to support the development of new AI technologies.

    The Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, recently argued that “Investment in robotics and artificial intelligence will help make our economy more competitive, build on our world-leading reputation in these cutting-edge sectors and help us create new products, develop more innovative services and establish better ways of doing business.”

    AI represents a significant business opportunity for the UK. “The UK Government is taking a leading role in getting the balance right, and our approach to this challenge will influence how the UK AI industry develops and the speed of disruption,” Mark Beresford argues. He believes that the workforce will quickly adapt: “Fortunately, the UK has an extremely flexible labour force, which is comfortable with the adoption of new technologies, having already transitioned to a more flexible and dynamic [post-industrial] model.”

    “British companies and experts will help solve some of the world’s most difficult challenges in the fields of healthcare, medicine, the environment, transportation, infrastructure, and security, to name but a few.”

    “The UK’s recognised strengths in attracting and cultivating world class talent to work on these problems in our Universities, combined with our unique innovation ecosystem which brings together ‘unusual suspects’ to create and develop new business models across technology and industry sectors, will help us to realise this opportunity on a global stage.”

    The UK AI market is forecast to grow significantly in the next ten years—roughly £650 billion by 2025, according to a report by Accenture. Mark argues that this will attract international companies and capital to invest in innovative new start-ups and to expand their business operations from the UK, in part thanks to national incubators and accelerators such as Entrepreneur First, which have produced a stream of new AI companies that are attracting global investment capital. Furthermore, “global technology giants like Google (Deep Mind), Microsoft (SwiftKey), Twitter (Magic Pony), and Softbank (Improbable) have already made significant investments in UK AI companies to scale their own platforms.”

    Alongside the market opportunities available in the UK, he sees the presence of some of the world’s strongest AI university research groups as equally important. This includes Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh, and UCL. “This strong university research base supports the growth of the next generation of scientists and engineers, and this is complemented by an increasing amount of AI related vocational skills development and apprenticeship opportunities.” New UK AI companies that began life in universities include Diffblue (University of Oxford), which uses AI to check for errors in source code, and Cytora (University of Cambridge), which specialises in AI driven data analytics for the insurance industry. 

    The British tech sector has always been well connected globally. “The scale of business opportunity is global,” he argues. “We know that international clients and policymakers across Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the US are already hungry to learn from UK AI experts.” He believes that AI ‘certainly’ represents a new opportunity to help UK companies develop even stronger international partnerships. “UK AI companies operate in a wide variety of industry verticals, and have developed solutions in different functional areas such as sales and marketing, operations and supply chain, human resources and finance.”

    “the Asian markets, in particular Japan and South Korea, with their ageing populations and imperative to enhance productivity to stay competitive, will be attractive to UK companies.” This is reflected in the Department’s support for B2B matchmaking ‘Mega-Missions’ to Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia. “The interest from local partners has been exceptionally high, and new business wins have already been bagged by some of the UK participants.”

    The Department are currently evaluating options for a similar high-profile AI initiative in the US in 2018, where UK firms are already making ground. “The US market will always be challenging for UK companies, but with dedicated support from the Department for International Trade’s US team, we are already seeing traction across the US in industries like financial services, healthcare, retail, cyber security, oil and gas, and manufacturing, where the UK has recognised strengths.”

  • 26 Oct 2017

    The Treasury has flatly rejected calls for a second EU referendum after the west’s leading economic thinktank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, said reversing the decision to leave would significantly benefit the economy.

    “We are leaving the EU and there will not be a second referendum,” the Treasury said in a terse statement that reflected the government’s unhappiness with the OECD’s intervention.

    The Paris-based group, which has 35 of the world’s richest countries as members, said it would revise the gloomy forecasts it made in its annual health check were Britain to stay in the EU.

    “In case Brexit gets reversed by political decision (change of majority, new referendum, etc), the positive impact on growth would be significant,” the report said.

    No 10 joined the chancellor, Philip Hammond, in rejecting the OECD’s analysis, though a spokeswoman for the prime minister would not be drawn on whether the statement was irresponsible or on whether the UK’s £10m-a-year membership contribution to the thinktank was well spent.

    “The OECD are a respected international body but what we should bear in mind is that it’s based on a no-deal situation, which is not what we are looking for. We are confident we are going to strike a good deal,” she said.

    Leave campaigners were more critical of the OECD, which receives most of its funds from other EU member states. 

    The Change Britain chair and former Labour MP Gisela Stuart said: “It is laughable that the EU-funded OECD, at a time that is the most helpful possible for Brussels, has the gall to intervene in our negotiations and call for Brexit to be reversed. 

    “These EU elites refuse to accept that 17.4 million people voted to take back control, and meant it. The British public didn’t believe the OECD’s scaremongering before, and nor should they start now.”

    Angel Gurría, the OECD’s secretary general, insisted that the thinktank respected the decision of the referendum and sources at the organisation sought to play down the “second referendum” call, saying it was merely sketching out alternative scenarios.

    However, the OECD said Britain must secure “the closest possible economic relationship” with the EU after Brexit to prevent the economy suffering a long-term decline.

    Gurría said Brexit would be as harmful as the second world war blitz and the British would need to act on the propaganda maxim to keep calm and carry on.

    The deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats said it was clear from the OECD report that a second vote was needed to prevent the harm caused by Brexit.

    Jo Swinson said: “Brexit has already caused the UK to slip from top to bottom of the international growth league for major economies. 

    “This will only get worse if the government succeeds in dragging us out of the single market and customs union, or we end up crashing out of Europe without a deal.”

    The thinktank, which has predicted the UK’s growth rate will fall to 1% next year, said a “disorderly” exit from the EU single market and customs union in 2019 would hurt trading relationships and reduce long-term growth.

    Entering the debate over Brexit at a crucial stage in negotiations, the OECD added that steep falls in the UK’s productivity performance relative to other major economies, allied with the failure of its export industries to grab a slice of expanding world trade, have left the country in a weak position to operate outside the EU.

    The warning follows a week of shuttle diplomacy between London and Brussels. The UK government says it has gained a commitment from EU leaders to speed up talks, although there has been no progress in crucial areas, including the divorce bill.

    Officials at the OECD have adopted one of the gloomiest outlooks for the British economy with an assumption that a trade deal with the EU would take four years to negotiate after Brexit, leading to further uncertainty and lower growth.

    To offset some of the damage, the OECD urged Hammond to spend spare funds on identifying ways to improve productivity, which measures the output per hour of an individual worker, by enhancing the skills of low-income workers.

    On the possibility that the UK might change course altogether, it said: “In case Brexit gets reversed by political decision (change of majority, new referendum, etc), the positive impact on growth would be significant.”

    The report also called on the chancellor to revive his plans to raise funds through an increase income tax on the self-employed, and end the triple lock on state pension rises, arguing that the state pension should rise in line with average earnings.

    Both proposals were immediately slapped down by Hammond, who said there was no intention to revisit the self-employment pension increases, which would continue to be in line with the highest of inflation, earnings or 2.5%.

    But the OECD reserved a warning for the Bank of England, which it said must guard against raising interest rates during a period of low growth, declining rates of productivity and while the economy remained vulnerable to Brexit. 

    It said Threadneedle Street should “look through” the current spike in inflation and maintain a loose monetary policy.

    The Treasury said: “Increasing productivity is a key priority for this government, so that we can build on our record employment levels and improve people’s quality of life. 

    “Today, the OECD has recognised the importance of our £23bn national productivity investment fund, which will improve our country’s infrastructure, increase research and development and build more houses. 

    “In addition, our reforms to technical education and our ambitious industrial strategy will also help to deliver an economy that works for everyone.”

  • 22 Oct 2017

    AI is a rich and diverse field. The greater value will come from understanding the multitude of related technologies, and then integrating those technologies into full solutions.

     

    Artificial Intelligence—which we define as information systems and applications that can sense, comprehend and act—has captured the attention of C-suite executives, not just technologists and research scientists.

    The media regularly draws attention to innovative business solutions based on Artificial Intelligence. Venture capitalists are funding AI start-ups at a rapid pace.

    Technology companies are moving swiftly to create and capture value in this emerging area. High-profile acquisitions by Google1, Apple2 and Facebook3 are piquing interest in Artificial Intelligence technologies such as robotics, expert systems, computer vision, and speech, gesture and facial recognition. Companies are creating new research labs devoted to innovating with these technologies, and the number of Artificial Intelligence vendors has increased dramatically.

    Artificial Intelligence technologies and solutions also face several obstacles. As with any new technology promising to change the world, business leaders wonder how to separate hype from real potential. From there it’s a short step to wondering if their organization will be one of those that figures out how to capture new value —or will be one of those playing catch-up. Add to this skepticism and lack of understanding as well as the widely discussed apprehension about the social and economic implications of these technologies, and it’s clear that Artificial Intelligence faces serious headwinds.

    But executives shouldn't let these concerns obscure the considerable likely benefits of Artificial Intelligence. These include lower costs for services, better quality and consistency of services, improved education and medical treatment, and better, faster, more informed business decisions.

    Decision makers should also recognize that Artificial Intelligence isn’t a matter of any single technology or application—whether driverless cars or smartphone virtual assistants or trend detection solutions or a myriad of other examples. Artificial Intelligence is a rich and diverse eld. The greater value will come from understanding the multitude of related technologies and then integrating those technologies into full solutions. 

    Artificial Intelligence consists of multiple technologies that enable information systems and applications to sense, comprehend and act. That is, computers are enabled (1) to perceive the world and collect data; (2) to analyze and understand the information collected; and (3) to make informed decisions and provide guidance based on this analysis in an independent way. Artificial Intelligence can also learn from experience and alter their processing and behavior based on those learnings..

    Sense

    Consider how a border-control kiosk uses computer vision technologies such as facial recognition to sense characteristics of travelers. Integrated with other 

    technologies such as multi spectral image analysis (scanning passports using infrared and ultraviolet light), extensive information databases and matching algorithms, an integrated solution here can improve security by identifying people on unauthorized entry lists or others posing a risk. Video analytics is another sensing technology that can automate observation and incident detection by video surveillance cameras. Other similar applications can help companies improve physical security at their premises, or they can help retailers count visitors or recognize customers as they enter a store so sales people can provide personalized services.. 

    Comprehend

    Artificial Intelligence systems also comprehend through technologies such as natural language processing, inference engines and expert systems. These technologies have a wide range of applications across multiple industries. For example, a medical diagnostic system can help doctors identify diseases and suggest treatments. 

    The system asks follow-up questions and stores facts in working memory, then takes the facts of the case and the knowledge it has of medicine and cases (stored in a knowledge base) and infers a solution or treatment. Finally, the system presents a conclusion or suggestion to the doctor, who uses it as expert input into a nal diagnosis and treatment plan.

    Act

    An Artificial Intelligence system acts independently. It can take action within a process, through technologies such as inference engines and expert systems, or it can direct action in the physical world. Consider a widely publicized example of the driverless car which senses the environment, understands the myriad inputs and then steers the car without assistance from a human driver. Other examples include factory robots that assemble products on the production line, virtual assistants that act by responding to customer or consumer inquiries, and assisted-braking capabilities in cars that sense skids and automatically take action to steer the car safely.

    Learn

    A distinctive feature of all types of true Artificial Intelligence solutions is their ability, through a technology known as “machine learning,” to adapt their capabilities based on experience, rather than needing to have all the rules hard-coded. For decades, computers have been able to process complex questions and give answers, but applications were rigid and any change required programmatic modi cations. Today, Artificial Intelligence systems can be self- learning; they are more like bright students who are given educational materials and then can learn by themselves. 

    For example, self-learning Artificial Intelligence solutions are already in use by banks to detect credit fraud. The banks use machine learning models that understand previous spending patterns of a customer and predict the transactions a person will make, agging unusual activity. These systems are also given real examples of fraudulent and legitimate transactions so that the models can learn to recognize new patterns and evolve as fraudsters alter their tactics.

    At the consumer level, an example of a self-learning application is Google Now, a personal assistant. It learns from its user’s activities and interactions to nd, collect and present relevant, personalized information on a smartphone. Google Now is also designed to constantly improve based on user feedback and its own learning methods.

    Technology advancements are continuously improving the sophistication of computers’ learning capabilities. A form of machine learning called “deep learning” is being used today to develop systems that can perform more complex activities using neural networks to mimic the human brain structure. Such systems are increasingly able to do things like recognize patterns and objects, and generate descriptions of images in natural language. 

  • 20 Oct 2017

    New online tools could help a greater proportion of UK businesses offer their services overseas, director at recently created department claims. 

    A top official at the Department for International Trade has said “pioneering” work in digital will help boost the low number of British exporters, but he also conceded that access to data in this area was “not ideal”.

    Paul McComb, transition programme director at the Department for International Trade, told MPs that new online tools will help increase the number of British businesses trading overseas, which has remained stubbornly at around 11% for more than a decade.

    But, when questioned by the International Trade Committee on the department’s support for exports and investment, he admitted that DIT’s work in this area is hampered by the patchy nature of data on British exporters, which cannot easily be broken down by sector.

    DIT was created last year following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, and tasked with drawing up new international trade agreements and a trade and investment policy for Britain. It brought together the functions of the former UK Trade & Investment, UK Export Finance and Whitehall’s since-bolstered trade policy function, in a “machinery of government change” that McComb confirmed had cost £1.4m. 

    McComb, who joined UKTI as managing director of strategy in 2016 before it was absorbed by DIT, said the department’s investment in digital was “really quite pioneering” and that good progress had been made.

    “Digital has transformed other bits of government, it’s transformed other industries,” he said, adding that DIT was looking at how it can use technology to connect British companies with overseas export opportunities.

    He told MPs that DIT had invested £6.3m in 2016-17 and will be spending a further £4.5m in 2017-18.

    Government used to have 19 separate websites all claiming to provide export advice and not all of them were up-to-date. But in November 2016 DIT launched great.gov.uk, which has brought all that advice together in one place.

    Another part of the department’s digital offering will be about improving segmentation, so that products and services can be better targeted at the right businesses. 

    Companies will be asked to register their interest online in becoming overseas exporters, and can then use the “export readiness assessment” – an online tool. 

    Responding to a question about whether this shift to online services will meet business needs, McComb said: “It’s genuinely too early to declare any kind of victory in this space.

    “What we haven’t done is thrown the kitchen sink at this and said, ‘It’s digital and we’re laying off everyone who did face-to-face’. We’ve kept both going.”

    He also said that the number of British businesses that export overseas – which “has been stubborn” at around the 11% mark for the past 10 to 15 years – cannot easily be broken down by sector.

    “The data isn’t automatically served up like that,” he said. “This is certainly one of the things that as a department we want to make serious inroads in – there’s a lot of analysis, there’s a lot of sample data, but there’s not a great deal of caseload data where you can go and reach in and say, ‘Show me companies who are exporting around the world on this sector’.

    “It’s certainly not ideal today and I would acknowledge that.”

    There are proposals for DIT to take on powers to use some HMRC customs data, and McComb said he hopes the department’s new digital services will also be a rich source of data.

    “All Whitehall departments are just data junkies, they do want this information to underpin and drive and shape strategy,” he said, adding, however, that the additional burden placed on businesses was also a factor. 

    Asked about the department’s use of private sector contractors, McComb said DIT was “quite a leveraged organisation” and had contracts worth £195m with organisations such as British Chambers of Commerce and EY.

    The department is able to access external expertise at short notice, and recently it has particularly invested in commercial experts to help it negotiate better value contracts, he added.

  • 15 Oct 2017

    Artificial intelligence is technology that appears to emulate human performance typically by learning, coming to its own conclusions, appearing to understand complex content, engaging in natural dialogs with people, enhancing human cognitive performance (also known as cognitive computing) or replacing people on execution of non-routine tasks. Applications include autonomous vehicles, automatic speech recognition and generation and detecting novel concepts and abstractions (useful for detecting potential new risks and aiding humans quickly understand very large bodies of ever changing information). In short it is a machine to sense, comprehend, act and learn. In short, it is a collection of advanced technologies that allows machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn.

    It is set to transform business in ways we’ve not seen since the Industrial Revolution; fundamentally reinventing how businesses run, compete and thrive. When implemented holistically, these technologies help improve productivity and lower costs, unlocking more creative jobs and creating new growth opportunities.

    Compelling data reveal a discouraging truth about growth today. There has been a marked decline in the ability of traditional levers of production—capital investment and labour—to propel economic growth.

    Yet, the numbers tell only part of the story. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a new factor of production and has the potential to introduce new sources of growth, changing how work is done and reinforcing the role of people to drive growth in business. Today, we are witnessing the take-off of another transformative set of technologies, commonly referred to as artificial intelligence. Many see AI as similar to past technological inventions. If we believe this, then we can expect some growth, but nothing transformational.

    But what if AI has the potential to be not just another driver of TFP, but an entirely new factor of production? How can this be?

    The key is to see AI as a capital-labour hybrid. AI can replicate labour activities at much greater scale and speed, and to even perform some tasks beyond the capabilities of humans. Not to mention that in some areas it has the ability to learn faster than humans, if not yet as deeply. For example, by using virtual assistants, 1,000 legal documents can be reviewed in a matter of days instead of taking three people six months to complete.

    Similarly, AI can take the form of physical capital such as robots and intelligent machines. And unlike conventional capital, such as machines and buildings, it can actually improve over time, thanks to its self-learning capabilities.

    Based on various analyses and modelling, it can be seen that AI is seen as a new factor of production rather than just a productivity enhancer. This ability of AI to complement and enhance traditional factors of production is where its true potential lies.

     

  • 12 Oct 2017

    Maryland economic development officials plan to open an international office in London to help the state attract investments from international cyber-security companies.

    The office will be run through a partnership between the state Department of Commerce and iCyberCenter@bwtech, an international business incubator in bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park on UMBC’s campus. The office will be paid for by the state commerce department through a grant to iCyberCenter@bwtech.

    “Maryland truly is leading the cyber generation, and this unprecedented cyber sector growth is helping to drive an exciting economic resurgence in our state,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in an announcement Thursday.

    During Hogan’s trade mission to London in June, state officials signed a memorandum of understanding between Maryland and Midlands Engine, the U.K.’s center of cybersecurity and technology. The London office will be headed by Andy Williams, who heads cCyberCenter@bwtech and will continue as the incubator’s international director.

     

    “Maryland represents a huge opportunity for overseas defense and cyber-security companies seeking to establish a presence in the U.S. market,” Williams said.

  • 08 Oct 2017

    Best known as the platform for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, blockchain technology allows transactions to be validated without the use of a centralized database. This innovation holds the potential to transform trade finance, argues SkuChain Vice President Rebecca Liao in the journal Foreign Affairs.

    She observes that “because blockchain provides a distributed digital record that does not require trust or coordination between firms, it allows for secure, standardized transactions to occur almost instantaneously, even across borders” and finds that “the widespread adoption of blockchain . . . would especially benefit importers and exporters, granting them access to the financial backing that many now lack.”

    The author outlines how blockchain can “reduce friction in international commerce, broaden the distribution of the gains from trade, and encourage higher economic growth.”

    Regulators should welcome these developments, Liao argues. “The widespread adoption of blockchain would reduce friction in the global economy,” she writes, “and it would especially benefit importers and exporters, granting them access to the financial backing that many now lack.”

    Some have compared blockchain’s transformative potential to that of the internet, setting off rapid change to its myriad potential applications. For Liao, however, “blockchain’s applications will bring about only incremental improvements.”

    “The technology could eventually help big banks eliminate paper contracts, do away with clearinghouses, secure digital systems from cyberattacks, and quickly settle transactions—changes that could save such institutions hundreds of millions of dollars each year,” Liao wrote. “But getting there will take time, because the existing financial infrastructure has been in place for decades and because it is hard to get competing institutions to cooperate.”

    Liao concludes, “There is a real chance that blockchain’s potential has been overhyped. In the case of trade finance, however, it might just be a tool that could make global markets more accessible at a moment when they seem to be closing off.”

  • 05 Oct 2017

    International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, announces UK’s plans for Expo 2020 Dubai, the world's largest exhibition, as UK companies help deliver the event.

    Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, welcomed Dr Fox in Dubai and briefed him on the progress in building the Expo site, supported by UK architects and construction firms.

    Dr Fox reiterated the UK’s support for Expo 2020 Dubai as he handed over its official letter of participation, adding the UK planned to theme its Pavilion around ‘Opportunity’, focusing on how UK expertise can help spread prosperity across the world.

    He emphasised that the UK, as an outward looking country, will use Expo 2020 Dubai as a springboard for strengthening international trade and relations as we leave the EU.

    International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said:

    Expo 2020 Dubai presents exciting opportunities for both the UAE and the UK to strengthen international trade relations as Dubai prepares to welcome 180 nations, and the world’s top business leaders and investors.

    We have a long history in showcasing the very best innovation and talent on a world stage, starting with the first Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations in 1851. The UK is committed to playing a key role in helping Dubai stage a successful expo. As an international economic department, my department is helping British companies bring their expertise to build pavilions that will be enjoyed by 25 million visitors from around the world.

    Our theme ‘Global Britain – Innovating for a Shared Future’ will set out our outward facing global vision, and further reinforce the many opportunities opening up to us as we leave the EU.

    Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said:

    The UAE and the UK are joined by a bond of exceptional, historic relations. This relationship is embodied through the various agreements signed between our countries, from the promotion of investments to air transport and taxation.

    The UK was one of the first countries to back the UAE’s efforts to host Expo 2020 Dubai and we are grateful for their enduring support, which was reiterated today by Dr Liam Fox. We are looking forward to connecting further with British institutions and businesses as they join us on our journey to 2020 and beyond.

    UK’s World Expo legacy

    The UK hosted the first ever World Expo in 1851 and has played a leading role in Expos over the past 166 years, including at the Expo Milano 2015, where the UK ‘Hive’ national pavilion won 22 international awards. The Hive Pavilion, which was the UK’s top paid-for attraction in 2015 with 3.3 million visitors, has now been erected in Kew Gardens, London, providing education on the importance of conservation.

    The UK was one of the first nations to publicly support Dubai’s bid to host Expo 2020 and also one of the first countries to publicly announce its official participation.

    Prime Minister Theresa May, confirmed the UK would participate in December when she met Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on the margins of the annual meeting of the Gulf Co-operation Council in Bahrain.

     

    UK - UAE trade and Expo opportunities

    The UK and the UAE have strong trade and investment links. About 5,000 UK businesses operate in the UAE and more than 100,000 British nationals live in the country. The UAE is the UK’s 12th largest trading partner, and UK exports to the Gulf region were £20 billion in 2015. In finance, UK firms represent 15 per cent of the regulated financial firms in the Dubai International Financial Centre.

    British architects and construction firms, including Anglo-Emirati joint venture Al-Futtaim Carillion and architectural company Foster + Partners, are involved in the design and building of some of the pavilions and districts on the Expo site.

    Opening on 20 October 2020, the Dubai Expo is projected to attract 25 million visits, with 70 per cent expected to come from outside the UAE – the largest proportion of international visitors in the 166 year history of World Expos. More than 200 countries, companies, charities and educational institutions are also expected to participate.