Trade commissioner outlined Middle East trade and investment opportunities

1 September 2021


UK Middle East trade commissioner, Simon Penney (pictured below), was keynote speaker at a major virtual Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) trade forum held on September 1 by Chamber International.

GCC Trade Forum 2021 - Simon Penney, Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for the Middle East and Her Majesty’s Consul General Dubai

Banker, Simon Penney, who became UK Middle East trade commissioner in May 2018 and consul general to Dubai in January 2021, said that GCC countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, Omar and Qatar are overseas markets that, with the correct approach, can provide significant export growth for UK businesses.

The event was held to coincide with government post-Brexit trade discussions with the GCC, a region likely to offer British companies significant increased trade and investment opportunities during the next decade as the UK aims to become an independent global trading nation. Simon Penney also reported on progress in the UK-GCC trade negotiations.

Simon Penney was previously head of corporate and investment banking, First Gulf Bank and chief executive, Middle East and Africa, Royal Bank of Scotland and, among issues that were discussed, were technologies which support banking and financial services; the GCC region’s digital transformation, healthcare and infrastructure projects, including Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and the UAE’s District 2020.

Among the other speakers were two Chamber International overseas partners, owner of AEI Saudi, Stuart De Sousa and chief executive of British Centres for Business (BCB), Dubai, Joe Hepworth. Others were managing director of strategy and transformation consultancy, Sullivan & Stanley, Chris Hafner, and chief executive of Emirates Hospitals Association, Norman McKenzie Richmond.

Chamber International director, Tim Bailey, says: “A trade agreement with the six oil-rich nations that make up the GCC will give UK businesses a significant  edge on global trade.

“The forum was a huge success. Simon Penney and the other speakers provided valuable insights for businesses planning to develop, or increase, trade and investment with GCC countries and hear how Chamber International and our Overseas Business Network (OBN) partners can help them achieve this.”


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