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UK-Qatar trade relation growing strong: Envoy

UK-Qatar trade relation
growing strong: Envoy

Satyendra Pathak
The trade ties between the United Kingdom (UK) and Qatar have flourished over the past ten years and it will grow further in the years to come, British Ambassador to Qatar HE Jon Wilks said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a webinar entitled ‘Bilateral and Synergistic Opportunities between Qatar and the United Kingdom’ organised by Doha Bank, the envoy said the two countries have been witnessing an acceleration in mutual trade and investment since 2010 that has resulted in Qatar becoming the second most important market for Britain in the GCC region today.
“The depth of economic relations between the countries can be understood from the facts that the bilateral trade between the two countries stood at 7 billion British pounds in four quarters to the first quarter of 2020 and there are more than 700 British companies in Qatar,” he said.
The envoy said that trade volume between the two countries is expected to grow further as Britain is planning to import more gas from Qatar.
He said that UK is looking for opportunities to increasing its exports to Qatar to further boost trade between the two countries.
Citing Britain as the prime destination for investment in Europe, he said, “It is evident from the fact that Qatar has made investments worth 40 billion Britiesh pounds in UK, which is its largest investment in Europe. We expect lots of investments coming as Qatar has shown immense interest in several upcoming projects especially in the energy sector.”
The webinar, which was held in line with the ongoing changes in the market environment and the need to mitigate risks, was moderated by Doha Bank Group CEO R Seetharaman.
Asked if Britain will go for free trade agreement (FTA) will Qatar post-Brexit, Wilks said, “Britain will look for opportunities to have FTA with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as a whole. We see GCC as a very important trade body for Britain. In fact, our trade with GCC as a whole is very strong and we would like to see all six member countries of GCC united as our trading partner.”
The envoy said that more than 22,000 British expatriates live in Qatar, which is the second-highest in the GCC region. “This shows the importance of Qatar for Britain. With Fifa World Cup 2022 approaching fast, we will see more British people and firms entering Qatar,” he said.
He said that many British firms are interested to take part in projects related to defence, security and cyber alongside the Fifa World Cup preparation.
Healthcare, education, energy, food security and financial services are other areas where British firms could offer their expertise in Qatar.
“A lot of British firms are also interested to offer their services in the smart cities projects,” he said.