Rigorous efforts to promote mutual investments between Qatar and the UK have bore fruits with total trade volume between both countries reaching £6.8bn in 2019, HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, Simon Penney, said yesterday.
Addressing the opening of the 3rd SMEs Conference which was organized by the Qatar Chamber (QC) in cooperation with the British Embassy in Qatar, Penney noted that Qatar is an important trading partner for the UK, which has the 6th largest economy in the world.
He said the UK is interested to cement its bilateral relations with Qatar and added that the GCC is UK’s second-largest market after the US.
Currently, there is a multitude of British companies that are looking for investment opportunities in Qatar, particularly in the country’s free zones, Penney said.
He went on to affirm Qatar’s progress and development and added that the country is on the right track in achieving its National Vision 2030 as well as in implementing the projects related to the upcoming Fifa World Cup 2022.
“We are working closely with Qatar. We are committed to implementing our joint plans. Qatar is committed to delivering a successful and secure version of the World Cup,” Penney added.
The two-day conference, held under the patronage of the Minister of Commerce and Industry H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, was also attended by QC Chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim Al Thani.
The event is aimed at enhancing the Qatari private sector’s role in advancing the country’s economic development, while also highlighting SMEs from the UK, which accounts for over 90 percent of all UK companies, and are among the most innovative in the world.
Also speaking during the event, QC Director-General Saleh bin Hamad Al Sharqi stressed that Qatar’s SME sector witnessed a large turnout from entrepreneurs during the blockade, particularly because of the country’s efforts in developing the national industry, accelerating business procedures, and achieving self-sufficiency.
He said Qatar offers an appropriate climate for SMEs by issuing laws, streamlining procedures and scaling up the competitiveness among entrepreneurs and business owners through awards and conferences.
Speaking about Qatar, UK trade relations, Al Sharqi said the two countries enjoy distinguished cooperation relations in all sectors. He added that the conference seeks to further increase trade between Qatar and the UK by working together through SMEs, and offers a unique platform for UK SMEs to understand opportunities in Qatar and to meet buyers and investors while serving as a forum for both countries to share best practices and lessons learned.
In his welcome speech, Saleh bin Majid Al Khulaifi, Acting Undersecretary for Trade Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), reiterated that Qatar’s SME sector is a key driver of the country’s economic diversification.