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Business as Usual? The Post-Brexit Impacts on UK and UAE Relations

Justin Gibbins


Since the formal leaving of the United Kingdom from the European Union on January 31, 2020, much discussion has focused on the consequences for British foreign policy. Predictions broadly fit into two outcomes: internationalism, echoed in the “global Britain” mantra, and isolationism, with a Britain struggling to be heard on the world stage. As British foreign and trade policies are being shaped by a desire to seek out new friends, and reaffirm contacts with old ones, the United Arab Emirates, a Gulf Cooperation Council country with a palpable set of linkages to the UK, will be impacted. Military, diplomatic and economic ties are robust, but the UAE’s position, particularly in light of its rising-power regional status, requires investigation. With some believing British influence will be stymied by its non-EU status, and with a UAE that has reversed its traditional nonintervention status to become more regionally resurgent, what would this mean for future UK–UAE relations? This article seeks to provide an early snapshot of the post-Brexit relationship between the two.

Keywords: Brexit, trade, security, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom

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pp. 200–217