Britain’s Undersecretary of State at the Department for International Trade has lauded the value of Qatari investments in the UK, said members of the Qatar Businessmen Association (QBA), which is on a business trip in Europe.
Qatari investments in the UK amounted to £30bn, in addition to the £5bn announced by HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani during a business and investment forum held in London and Birmingham earlier this year.
In a recent meeting with QBA officials and members, Garnier said trade exchange between the two countries exceeded £5bn in 2015, “with the pace of growth increasing annually.” He praised the successful conduct of the business and investment forum, saying that the partnership between the two countries “is a strategic one.”
Garnier also cited education as an important area of partnership between the UK and Qatar, where there are about 25,000 British professionals working in Gulf nation. In addition, he said the British Council is graduating about 8,000 students a year in Doha.
In contrast, Garnier said British schools are accepting about 4,000 Qatari students, at an increase of 20% annually. Garnier also noted that Britain has set up a £5bn investment fund to support companies investing abroad, with an amount allocated for companies wishing to invest in Qatar.
British ambassador to Qatar Ajay Sharma stressed that he will work with the Ministry of Foreign Trade to support the increase of trade and investment between the UK and Qatar. “The UK has always been open to business, and is running the largest international trade campaign in Doha as an important step to showcase the best services and products that the UK can offer to the world,” Sharma said.
Yousef bin Ali al-Khater, the ambassador of Qatar to the UK, stressed that the mutual investments and the “excellent bilateral relations” between the two countries were once again confirmed by the visit of the QBA led by its chairman, Sheikh Faisal bin Qasim al-Thani.
“We are investing not only in the UK but in the future of both our countries, and this is the greatest opportunity to make links stronger than ever,” al-Khater stressed.
Sheikh Faisal said that the Qatari government’s role is “extremely important,” pointing out that Britain seeks to boost the volume of exports as a contribution to GDP, with 11% of British companies exporting their products abroad.
He also said the QBA meetings are an opportunity for UK companies to increase exports to Qatar and open branches in Doha, as well as establish links between businesses and businessmen in both the countries, and integrate and promote investment and trade opportunities between the two countries.
Sheikh Faisal praised Qatar’s achievements in the field of infrastructure projects and other economic sectors, stressing that Qatar’s strategic location between Asia and Europe represents an opportunity “that can be efficiently maximised by both countries’ business and investment sectors.”
“We see clearly the importance of building a stronger Qatar, just as you want Britain to be stronger after Brexit. Therefore, British companies are going to invest in Doha with the establishment of free zones, the largest port in the region, and multiple facilities that will enhance our bilateral relations and further strengthen the strong relationship between the countries,” he said.
Stressing on the success of QBA’s business trips to Paris, Berlin, and the UK, QBA first deputy chairman Hussein Alfardan said QBA members agreed with their European counterparts to establish a company in each of the three countries with the aim to invest abroad and attract foreign investments in Qatar. “There is a great convergence of views towards welcoming the idea. The practical steps will be considered soon,” Alfardan said.
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