The United Kingdom’s exports to Qatar increased by 16% last year and greater cooperation between the UK and Qatari businesses could unlock huge opportunities for both nations, said the UK Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Liam Fox.
He was speaking at a luncheon meeting hosted by the Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) in his honor in Doha.
“As I and HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani have made clear, we are committed to delivering greater prosperity for both our countries through global free trade, working closely with key organizations like the Qatari Businessmen Association.”
On UK’s decision to leave the EU (Brexit), Fox said the United Kingdom was looking forward to cooperating with businessmen to attract more investments and strengthen the country’s position in an increasingly interconnected world.
The primary goal of the UK’s decision is “to become a more open country, get rid of the restrictions that have hampered cooperation with world markets, especially in the era of globalization.”
UK Ambassador Ajay Sharma said the United Kingdom was seeking to strengthen economic ties between the two countries and was currently working on the launch of a digital platform that provided economic and commercial information to assist investors in various sectors.
HE the QBA chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani welcomed the distinguished guests, praising the bilateral relations between Qatar and the United Kingdom, which dates back to many years.
He also spoke about the need for continuous follow-up on the bilateral trade missions, visits and the vast potential for enhancing the cooperation between private sectors of the two countries.
The UK is a strategic trade partner for the GCC countries. In 2015, the UK exports stood at over £20bn, which is more than that of China and twice as much as exports from India.
Last year, the UK exports to Qatar totaled £2.6bn, up 16% on 2014 while Qatar’s exports to the UK doubled to £2.7bn.
Some of the UK’s largest companies like Shell have been major investors in the region for a number of years. Shell is the largest foreign investor in Qatar while many British companies are very active in Qatar’s various infrastructure projects.
The luncheon meeting was also attended by QBA board members, Sheikh Nawaf bin Nasser al-Thani and Sherida al-Kaabi; as well as QBA members; Sheikh Abdullah bin Ahmed al-Thani; Ibrahim Mohamed al-Jaidah, Nabil Abu Issa and QBA Deputy General Manager Sarah Abdullah. Sheikh Faisal also presented a souvenir to Fox on the occasion.