The Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) organised a business lunch Tuesday in honour of UK Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden and his accompanying delegation, who are currently visiting Qatar.
The meeting, which was held in the presence of British ambassador Neerav Patel, discussed trade and investment relations between Qatar and Britain, as well as developments in the free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between the GCC countries and the UK.
Both sides expressed their full belief in its importance as an FTA will contribute significantly to economic growth and will enhance trade in goods and services, new sectors, and advanced technologies that would serve the common interests of all concerned.
The meeting was hosted by QBA chairman HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani, as well as board members Sheikh Hamad bin Faisal al-Thani, Sheikh Nawaf bin Nasser al-Thani, and Sherida al-Kaabi.
Also participating in the meeting were QBA members Salah al-Jaidah, Khaled al-Mannai, Nabil Abu Issa, Yousef al-Mahmoud, and Dr Mohamed Althaf, as well as Sheikh Mansour bin Jassim bin Thani al-Thani and deputy general manager Sarah Abdullah.
During the meeting, Dowden spoke about Qatari investments in Britain, such as in the London Stock Exchange, Chelsea Barracks, Heathrow Airport, and Harrods, which are an important addition to the British economy and a successful business model. He also stated that the volume of trade between Britain and Qatar jumped 100% last year, noting that Britain is working to conclude FTAs with the Gulf countries.
Speaking on the British economy, Dowden said he is getting positive feedback regarding the outlook for the British economy. “Since Rishi Sunak was appointed Prime Minister last year, the feeling of economic stability has grown in the UK because investors are looking forward to a stable investment environment,” he said, adding that Gulf countries are important trade partners for Britain and considered the fourth-largest trading partners after the EU, the US, and China.
For his part, Sheikh Faisal expressed his confidence in a better future for bilateral relations between the two countries, confirming that the QBA is looking forward to co-operating with the UK to develop more investments.
It is worth noting that the UK is a major trading partner for Qatar. Figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority revealed that 2022 was an exceptional year for both countries as the volume of trade exchange reached QR36bn, in which Qatar exported QR31bn worth of products, which is about three times higher than the QR11bn recorded in 2021.
Major British companies are operating in Qatar, such as Shell, which has been one of the major investors in the region for several years, in addition to many British companies active in the country’s infrastructure projects, especially in architecture, design, project management, and engineering consulting.
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