British Prime Minister David Cameron jetted into the UAE on the eve of the Dubai Airshow to deliver a morale-boosting speech to British exhibitors.
He stopped off in the emirate on his way back from the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka. The Prime Minister is backing BAE’s campaign to sell its new fighter to the UAE; amid government optimism that the Typhoon – built by BAE, EADS and Finmeccanica, and financed by the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain – will be chosen in a multi-billion dollar deal with the UAE.
After visiting Airbus, the Eurofighter Typhoon and the British Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows aerobatic team, he moved on to the UK Trade and Industry stand.
There he gave a speech, describing aerospace as an “absolutely vital industry for Britain”, noting that it was the second-largest such industry in the world, employing 230,000 people.
“It’s an industry we’re good at and have been good at for a very long time,” he said. He promised continued British government support for aerospace companies, not just in financial terms but via government time and effort.
He said that success was not just a case of selling British equipment, but establishing “more and more detailed partnerships with countries – as we are in the UAE and, I hope, in other parts of the world too”.
To succeed as a country in the aerospace sector in future meant playing to the country’s strengths. “In this global economy that doesn’t mean trying to compete in the low end with low pay, low wages low value-added, but with high pay, high skilled, high-quality jobs.”
Noting that many more UK companies were at the show than two years ago, he told his audience of UK exhibitors: “You are the front line in competing in this race so get out there and compete for Britain.”