Tony Blair has privately lobbied the Chinese government in the interest of the UAE, endeavoring to secure deals with China, worth millions. The former prime minister of UK courted a number of big-league Chinese political and business leaders, and later introduced them to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), he works for.
On July 20, 2018, China and the UAE signed myriad economic agreements in Abu Dhabi to boost the political alliances. President Xi Jinping held comprehensive talks with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is the ruler of Dubai, and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyanm during his visit.
A strategic cooperation framework was signed between state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) and China National Petroleum Company. In the past, Blair has also facilitated talks between the chief executive of Dow Chemical and a series of Chinese government and business figures. Blair’s influence in fostering the global economic cooperation, between the oil-rich Middle East and hydrocarbon-hungry China, is quite evident.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has also been signed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office and the Chinese Business Council to boost the important economic sectors, including renewable energy, industry and manufacturing, financial services, tourism, and ICT and communications amid the two countries.
In the background, Blair toured China over 20 times after leaving the office as prime minister, compared with just five visits as the leader. A spokesman for Blair claimed he “received no payment” for the introductions referring to his Abu Dhabi client.
By September 2014, Tony Blair Associates, his firm, was pitching the prospect clients in the Middle East that he could “help strengthen” their relations with China, through a strong network there. A year later, he introduced the senior officials from Mubadala, an investment fund owned by Abu Dhabi, to members of the chamber, including Wang Yanguo, its vice chairman, in Beijing.
A spokesman for Blair said: “He did introduced Mubadala to the province of Xinjiang and to the Chamber. He was delighted to do so. But, he did not receive any payment for the introduction.”
There are also claims that Blair is veilingly advising the Saudi government, a deal worth £9 million, through his institute for global change. His firm is extending support to the Saudi Crown Prince’s modernisation drive, under a “not for profit” provision.
It is the first prima-deal, bagged by the Tony Blair Institute, which was established in 2016 after Blair winded up his commercial operations.