The ‘Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum’ which will be held in London and Birmingham presents an opportunity to inject more Qatari investments into Britain, particularly Birmingham
The State of Qatar and the United Kingdom, bound by close bilateral relations which are deeply rooted in history and reflected in the strong and unique co-operation between the two countries in political, economic and cultural levels, share a common vision on various regional issues.
The two countries also enjoy distinct bilateral co-operation that the wise leadership in Qatar led by HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani is keen to enhance and expand.
The ‘Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum’ which will be held in London and Birmingham from tomorrow is a new prospect for Qatari-British relations at the economic level and presents an opportunity to inject more Qatari investments into Britain, particularly Birmingham.
The forum includes six main working sessions along with the opening plenary session.
The first session sheds light on the “Financial Strength of the State of Qatar” which brings together top speakers among ministers and businessmen including HE the Minister of Finance Ali Sherif al-Emadi; CEO of Qatar Investment Authority, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani; and Xavier Rolet, CEO of London Stock Exchange Group.
The second session focuses on the ‘Economic Growth in the State of Qatar’ and will involve keynote speakers: HE the Minister of Economy and Commerce, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani; UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox; and Chairman of Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA), HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani.
The third session to be held under the theme “Private Sector: Opportunities for Possible Partnerships,” will be joined by two keynote speakers: Chairman of Qatar Chamber, Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani; British Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Greg Hands, along with a number of heads of boards of banks and major companies in Qatar.
The fourth session on ‘Energy and Industry Projects’ will attract a number of high-level speakers, including HE the Minister of Energy and Industry Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada; UK Minister for Energy Jesse Norman; CEO, Qatar Petroleum, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi; and representatives of international gas and oil companies.
A number of keynote speakers will join the fifth session to be held under the theme of ‘Transport and Infrastructure,’ including HE the Minister of Transport and Communications, Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti; Hassan al-Thawadi, Secretary-General, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy; George Iacobescu, Chief Executive Officer of Canary Wharf Group as well as officials and stakeholders in the transport sector and infrastructure projects in Qatar and the United Kingdom.
The sixth session on ‘Health, Education and Tourism Issues’ feature leading keynote speakers led by HE the Minister of Public Health, Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari; Karen Bradley, UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport; Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and President of Qatar University, Dr Hasan Rashed al-Durham, along with a number of officials from the health and education sectors in Qatar and the UK.
London and Birmingham will host the largest ever business delegation from Qatar as part of the British Government’s international trade and investment campaign, which highlights trade and investment opportunities in ‘Global Britain.’ Birmingham has been selected as it is the second biggest city in the UK with a population of over a 5mn and offers promising investment opportunities and is scheduled to be connected through the national high speed rail network.
The forum also features a programme of activities including meetings with investors, meetings between Qatari businessmen and the local business community in Birmingham in addition to field visits to projects with large investment opportunities.
The event is expected to attract significant investments motivated by Qatar’s strong keenness to invest in Birmingham and to take advantage of the available opportunities there.
Qatar is one of Britain’s main energy partners by providing about 30% of Britain’s gas needs.
Qatar holds the world’s third largest natural gas reserves and is the world’s largest supplier exporting LNG to three continents.
The co-operation between Qatar and Britain is seen an example of dealing with regional issues having an international dimension thanks to their leading roles on the Arab and European levels.
The meeting held between HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and the British Prime Minister Theresa May in London in mid-September last year was aimed to push forward bilateral relations between the two countries towards wider prospects in order to enhance the strategic and historical co-operation in various regional issues, especially the situation in Syria, lift the siege, means of alleviating inhuman suffering faced by the Syrian people, ending forced displacement along with terrorism and its grave consequences and threats to the security and stability of the world’s countries as a whole as well as the need to addressing the root causes of terrorism and fighting terrorism regionally and internationally.
Joint strategic interests between the two countries were discussed during the meeting between HH the Emir and the British prime minister in Manama last December on the sidelines of the 37th Summit of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member states, particularly the economic interests and the importance of enhancing investment and trade opportunities which are of benefit to the two friendly countries and peoples.
During the GCC Summit, the British premier stressed her country’s commitment to a true partnership with Qatar, especially in the security, defence and trade domains.
The economic co-operation witnessed a big boom.
The volume of trade exchange between the State of Qatar and the United Kingdom reached in 2015 about QR19.4bn.
The United Kingdom is Qatar’s sixth trading partner while the number of British companies in Qatar is about 79 companies operating in the sectors of oil and gas, infrastructure and information technology with a total capital of QR8.1bn.
There are at least 672 British-Qatari companies with a joint capital operating in consulting Engineering, contracting, information technology, trade and services in Qatar.
Britain counts on Qatar’s strategic and economic importance and seeks to take full advantage of investment opportunities in the commercial and investment sectors through free and fair trade principles and according to established pillars.
Britain also supports Qatar’ orientation to invest in the United Kingdom, which is the fifth-largest national economy, and to continue this path over the coming period, after the Brexit vote.
The United Kingdom is seeking to inject more British investments into the 2022 World Cup projects, especially in the field of stadium security and cyber security.
Qatar is the UK’s third largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa region.
In 2016, UK exports to Qatar amounted to nearly £2.38bn registering a growth of 21.7% compared to 2014.
Qatar’s exports to the UK in 2015 totalled £2.56bn marking a 20.4% jump compared to 2014.
At the cultural and educational level, Britain remains one of the main destinations for Qatari students and the number of Qatari students studying in the UK is constantly increasing.
The number of Qatari students registered in Britain, which has doubled since 2010, rose by 20.4% during the academic year 2014/2015.
This increase is explained by the low cost, high-quality education provided by British Higher Education institutions where four of the top 10 universities in the world are in the UK.
The relations between the two countries have developed before, during and after the First World War, after the signing of a treaty in 1916, which placed Qatar under the British Protectorate and remained the basis of bilateral relations for a long time.
In 1968, Britain decided to withdraw from bases ‘East of Suez’ and the Gulf region within three years.
In 1971, Qatar becomes an Independent State and took the responsibility over its internal and external policies.
The new partnership agreement signed between Qatar and the UK in 2010 marks an important milestone in the history of Qatari-British relations.
It is agreed that the two countries will intensify their high-level dialogues by launching regular ministerial-level consultation sessions on regional issues.
It also stresses both sides’ joint commitment to international development by conducting an intensive dialogue between the concerned ministers and strengthening co-operation between Qatar and the UK in education, sport and cultural sectors.
The historic partnership agreement also launched a new phase of strategic relations between Qatar and the UK on foreign policy and security and military co-operation in the Gulf region and affirmed their commitment to resolve global disputes by peaceful means.
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