The Ministry of Commerce and Industry welcomed on Wednesday February 12, 2020, at its headquarters in Lusail, a British trade mission to discuss preparations for the FIFA World Cup. The delegation was led by H.E. Mr. Simon Penney, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, who is currently visiting Qatar.
The delegation included representatives of 30 major British companies specializing in the areas of security training, crowd management, consulting, digital services, cyber security, information management, artificial intelligence technologies, event management and organization.
Within the framework of the delegation’s visit, the Ministry organized a panel discussion entitled “Doing Business in Qatar”, with the aim of highlighting the unique investment environment that Qatar offers and the government’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its strategic partnership with the UK in various fields, especially in areas related to hosting and organizing the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In his opening remarks, H.E. Mr. Saleh bin Majid Al-Khulaifi, Acting Undersecretary for Trade Affairs, highlighted that Qatar and the UK have long enjoyed strong ties that have reflected positively on bilateral trade and investment, with the UK ranking as Qatar’s ninth largest trade partner in 2018.
H.E. added that bilateral trade has grown in recent years, with the UK and Qatar trading $3.6 billion worth of goods during the January-November 2019 period, compared to $2.91 billion in 2018.
On the investment front, H.E. said the UK is one of Qatar’s largest investment partners, noting that a total of 1010 British companies are currently operating in Qatar. These include 934 Qatari-British companies with a $2.6 billion capital, in addition to 7 fully owned British companies, 69 representative offices, and 35 British firms licensed under the umbrella of the Qatar Financial Centre.
The UK, on the other hand, represents an attractive destination for Qatari investments, which have been channeled into major British companies in the hospitality, real estate, and financial markets sectors, H.E. said.
In this context, H.E. explained that Qatar has sought to cement its position as a leading regional investment and business hub, by laying the foundation of an attractive business environment that allows foreign investors up to 100% ownership in various real estate and commercial ventures, and to participate in the implementation of major economic projects, particularly those relating to the FIFA World Cup 2022.
The growing bilateral cooperation between Qatar and the UK will enhance the success and security of this global event, H.E. said, noting that Qatar and the UK have partnered to develop various projects relating to the World Cup including the design of stadiums, construction of roads, expansion of the Hamad International Airport and technical cooperation in the field of stadium security and management.
H.E. concluded his remarks by inviting British investors and businessmen to take advantage of the promising investment opportunities that Qatar offers as the country gears up to host one of the most successful and distinguished international events in the history of the FIFA World Cup.
The panel featured a number of presentations by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Free Zones Authority and the Qatar Financial Centre, that shed light on the development of Qatar’s business environment and efforts to attract investments including the laws and legislation that Qatar adopted to stimulate foreign direct investment, including law No. 1 of 2019 on regulating the investment of non-Qatari capital in economic activity, and the incentives and advantages granted to foreign investors. The presentations also shed light on Qatar’s sports sector and the investment opportunities that have emerged in various sectors in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup
Following the conclusion of the panel discussions, H.E. Mr. Saleh accompanied representatives of the British trade mission on a tour of the Single Window Services center, during which they were briefed on the business procedures and services provided by the window, and the facilities it provides to investors, as well as its role in stimulating the private sector and encouraging domestic and foreign investments in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.