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The UK has strong diplomatic, military, and economic ties with the UAE. It is currently negotiating a trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council, whose six members include the UAE. The UK Government has also raised concerns for human rights in the country, including freedom of religion and belief. In November/December 2023, the UAE will host the climate conference, COP 28.

This briefing introduces the UAE’s politics, human rights, trade, and international relations. It also signposts further reading. Please visit the Library’s Middle East pages for further analysis on the region’s politics.

What does this paper cover?

This 14-page briefing provides an introduction to the UAE’s: 

  • Leadership, politics, and political rights, including the election of the new President, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in 2022
  • Human rights, such as the rights of women and migrant workers
  • Trade with the UK and current negotiations on a trade agreement 
  • Economy, including key statistics on population, economic growth and leading industries 
  • Foreign relations with the US, neighbouring Gulf states and Iran

The paper signposts further reading on each of these topics on pages 13 to 14. This includes links to UK Parliament proceedings on the UAE and relevant Library briefing papers. 

Please visit the Library’s Middle East pages for further analysis on the region’s politics.

Update log

June 2022: First published

June 2023: Updated statistics and international affairs section 


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