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UK preparing to start trade negotiations with GCC countries next year: Minister

UK preparing to start trade negotiations with GCC countries next year: Minister

Tribune News Network
Doha
The United Kingdom is preparing to start trade negotiations with the GCC countries in 2022 in order to create a modern and comprehensive agreement that removes trade barriers in areas including food and beverage, digital trade and renewable energy, UK’s minister of international trade has said in Doha.
The agreement would represent a step towards strengthening trade and economic relations, as London seeks to establish deeper economic relations after leaving the European Union (Brexit), Ranil Jayawardena, who is also UK’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary, added.
The visiting minister was addressing the Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) at a luncheon hosted in his honour by the organisation, in the residence of its Second Deputy Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Thani Al Thani.
The luncheon comes on the sidelines of the minister’s visit to Doha to discuss ways to support and revitalize the bilateral trade between the two countries.
Thanking QBA for the meeting, Jayawardena said the visit aims to follow up on ways of trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.
He said he was looking forward to finalising negotiations for strengthening economic integration, opening markets to the Gulf and British companies, and enhancing economic cooperation by expanding trade and investment between the two sides.
He also praised the economic prosperity of Qatar and his admiration for the preparations of the 2022 World Cup. The minister called on the Qatari Businessmen Association to visit the UK soon to discuss investment projects closely, stressing the economic reforms pursued by the British government in order to encourage foreign investment and improve the business climate.
The luncheon was attended by UK’s Ambassador to Qatar HE John Wilks, QBA Chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani and QBA First Deputy Hussein Al Fardan. QBA Board members Sheikh Hamad bin Faisal Al Thani, Sheikh Nawaf bin Nasser Al Thani and Saud Al Mana also attended the event, along with QBA members Sheikh Faisal bin Fahad, Nasser Al Haider, Khalid Al Mannai, Salah Al Jaidah, Ibrahim Al Jaidah, Nabila Abu Issa and Maqbool Khalfan. Qatar International Islamic Bank CEO Abdulbasit Al Shaibi and QBA Deputy General Manager Sarah Abdallah also attended the luncheon.
Welcoming the minister, Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani highlighted the importance of the British market to the Qatari investors and the need to restore the market dynamics and business interaction. The visits of trade delegations would shorten the distance between the Qatari businessmen and their different counterparts, he said, pointing out the depth of the historical relations between Qatar and Britain.
For his part, Sheikh Khalid bin Thani Al Thani said the British market was one of the most-favoured investment destination for Qatar businessmen. It is a market full of opportunities, he added, affirming that the Qatari private sector is always looking forward to exploring new opportunities.
During the lunch, the attendees also discussed the wise steps taken by the state under the leadership of His Highness the Amir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to gradually lift restrictions and return life to normal with constant concern for the health of all citizens and residents.
Ambassador HE John Wilks said the United Kingdom always seeks to strengthen economic relations with its strategic partners, particularly Qatar, in order to open new cooperation prospects in various sectors, especially after the current global crisis, which affected all economies, stressing that the Qatari British economic relations are very powerful; as the Gulf region is a source of energy and a centre for business, major projects, and investments.

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