Qatar is seeking to strengthen the "special" ties with the UK to bolster bilateral trade and investments and enhance co-operation across an array of sectors, most notably education, health, banking, engineering, contracting, development and projects related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
"This can only be achieved through bolstering co-operation between the private sector in both countries, and exploring new areas of investment that add value to the growing trade exchange and investments," HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari told the second session of the Qatar-UK Joint Ministerial Commission on Economic, Commercial and Technical Co-operation, which was held on Sunday.
International trade and investment form a key part of Qatar’s future growth plans, al-Kuwari said, noting that the nation is seeking new deals with the UK and other strategic partners around the world to capitalise on its strategic location between East and West. Qatar is looking to attract foreign investments into its ambitious infrastructure projects, he said at the session, which was co-chaired by the UK’s Minister of State for Trade Policy George Hollingbery.
The Qatari minister highlighted that meeting marks another milestone in the development of British-Qatari relations, and demonstrates that ties remain strong, which reflected positively on the volume of bilateral trade and investments.
The UK ranked as Qatar’s eighth largest trade partner, with a total of $3bn worth traded goods in 2017, al-Kuwari said, adding 79 British companies and 672 Qatari-British companies are operating in the engineering, consulting, contracting, IT, commerce and services sectors in Qatar. Additionally, 35 British companies are licensed and fully operational under the umbrella of the Qatar Financial Centre.
Elaborating on Qatar’s attractive investment environment, he said Doha has begun to fast-track the implementation of progressive policies to encourage more foreign direct investments.
Qatar and the UK have made great progress in the investment field, al-Kuwari said, referring to the contribution of the Qatar Investment Authority to the UK’s economic growth. He noted that the joint ministerial commission discussed bilateral co-operation in the small and medium enterprises, financial system, sports economy, education, health and logistics sectors.
Highlighting the historical and strategic British-Qatari relations, Hollingbery said the UK is keen on further developing bilateral co-operation mechanisms and relations in various fields.
“There is clearly a demand for the UK goods and services here, and that is demonstrated by £3.39bn of exports last year. We will continue to support British businesses who want to trade with Qatar, including those companies seeking to take advantage of opportunities on offer at the 2022 World Cup,” he said.
He expressed hope that the commission will formulate final recommendations that will bolster bilateral economic and trade relations. He invited the Qatari delegation to participate in the third session of the UK-Qatari Joint Ministerial Commission on Economic, Commercial and Technical Cooperation, which will take place in the UK in 2019.
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