The Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) has organized a business meeting with Sir Edward Lister, Chief Strategic Advisor to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the presence of H E John Wilkes, British Ambassador to Qatar, on the sidelines of Lister’s visit as the first foreign trade delegation to visit Doha during the global crisis.
The visit confirms the strength of bilateral relations between Qatar and the UK. The meeting was headed by QBA Chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, and attended by QBA’s First Deputy to the Chairman Hussein Al Fardan, as well as other QBA board members including Sheikh Nawaf bin Nasser, Sherida Al Kaabi, and Saud Al Mana, in addition to QBA Deputy General Manager Sarah Abdallah.
During the event, Sheikh Faisal highlighted the strong bilateral and historical relations between Qatar and the UK. He also reiterated the need to continue working on the progress of the economic relations between the two countries and to develop the partnership even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking during the event, Lister stressed the commitment of the UK to work closely with Qatar and the Qatari private sector to develop economic cooperation between the two countries, especially after Brexi; and setting its own trade policies which would enhance relations and their development to suit the ambitions of both countries.
He also reiterated the British government’s interest in encouraging British companies to launch outside Britain, and to find global partnerships and invest in foreign markets, currently marketing the term (Global Britain).
He added that his visit aims to convey the message of the UK to its economic partners around the world that it is now more open than before and that its economic future is not limited to Europe only, but to the whole world. Participants during the event discussed ways to increase cooperation between both countries.
Al Fardan referred to the importance of increasing the presence of British companies in Doha and to create new partnerships in cooperation with the British Embassy, and the need to increase the volume of trade exchange between the two countries, which according to Wilkes has increased by 20 percent.
Sheikh Nawaf also pointed out the need to discuss with the British side establishing trade agreements that support commercial activities between the two parties, such as the double taxation agreement, which Qatar already has with other countries like France, and which would support increasing the volume of the bilateral trade between Qatar and the UK.
He also spoke about the need to encourage UK’s SMEs to explore the Qatari market, stressing out the role of the British government in supporting those SMEs so they can cooperate with Qatari businessmen and work in the Qatari market.
Sheikh Faisal also pointed out the importance of the UK to Qataris in general and businessmen in particular, as England is their first investment destination, especially in the real estate sector, in addition to Qatari students choosing the United Kingdom to study, and Qataris considering England as their first tourist destination.
Lister went on to emphasize that the British government is currently developing new legislation and re-enacting many laws, especially those that were related to the European Union, to facilitate many procedures and create more flexibility for cooperation.