The UK is reviewing its trade and investment relationships with its partner countries in the GCC to see “if there is a possible deal to be made on free trade agreements,” British ambassador Jonathan Wilks has said during a recent launch event in Doha.
“The most important thing to say about this is that for the UK, after the EU and China, the GCC is our next biggest market, so as a whole, these six GCC countries are very important to the UK,” said Wilks, addressing a question from the media regarding the impact of Brexit on Qatar-UK trade relations.
“We are hoping this year to complete this review of trade and investment relations and then look whether we can do some free trade agreements between the UK and the GCC,” the ambassador pointed out.
Speaking on other projects with Qatar authorities, he said: “We have an MoU between the Ministry of Municipality and Environment in Qatar and the Ministry of Agriculture in the UK, but of course business relations are very strong. We know that a lot of Qataris in the private sector are part of building this food security in Qatar.
“We want our businesses to be directly connected with them within the context of an agreement between the two governments to develop co-operation in this sector,” Wilks said.
Wilks also spoke about Qatar’s investments in the UK’s real estate sector: “We have to be careful. The UK has succeeded in its vaccine rollout and we have to make sure that we don’t import any of the variants of concern. So, we’re looking at the data, and as the data improves then we can slowly and carefully make travel easier.
“This takes time but we know that lots of Qatari investors and property owners want to come to the UK, so the most important thing is to continue with the vaccine rollout and that we are careful with all the measures we know that are necessary, such as social distancing and the wearing of masks. Hopefully, through this year the situation will improve.”
He added: “The number of Qataris visiting the UK will be less in 2021, but probably more than last year; the important thing is that we all stay safe, so we have to take it carefully.”