Qatar and the United Kingdom have signed a number of bilateral agreements, including the Qatar Central Bank’s donation agreement to the UK’s King’s College to establish a Qatar Centre for Global Banking & Finance within King’s Business School.Both the sides also signed a membership agreement between Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and Innovate Finance’s international hub, the first of its kind.
Under the agreement, Innovate Finance renews its commitment to supporting the development of the FinTech ecosystem in Qatar, as well as the approval of QDB’s membership of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN).
The signing ceremony was held on the occasion of London’s hosting of Qatar Day with the support of the British Department for International Trade and the City of London, in partnership with the City of London Corp, in which the UK reiterated its commitment to enhancing trade and investment ties, and support Qatar to develop its financial services sector.
British Department for International Trade and the Qatar Central Bank affirmed their commitment to bilateral co-operation in cybersecurity and achieving the objectives set out in the memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries last year.
Addressing on the occasion, the UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox described the State of Qatar as the “Investment Power” and “Natural Partner of the UK,” lauding the benefits of Qatari investment in Britain.
“Qatar Day is an opportunity to showcase the UK’s world-leading financial services sector, and use our industry expertise to support Qatar in their ambition to become the Middle East’s global hub for banking and finance,” the British minister said.
“Today’s event will help forge greater economic ties and is a testament to the importance that both the UK and Qatar place on our bilateral relationship,” he added.
“My international economic department is committed to supporting increased trade and investment between our two countries, to help deliver prosperity at home and abroad,” Fox said.
HE the Qatar Central Bank Governor Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud al-Thani said: “Qatar and the UK enjoy a strong economic partnership which generates numerous shared opportunities and benefits. The agreements signed today are a testament to this strong relationship. The UK is the single largest destination for Qatari investment in Europe, and in turn, Qatar is proud to be a hub for the UK companies doing business in the Mena region and a link for trade between the UK and Asia.”
HE the governor added that Qatar is one of the largest investors in the UK with more than £35bn investments in the British economy, adding that the figure is expected to continue to rise after a commitment by Qatar in 2017 to allocate £5bn additional investments over a five-year period, half of which has already been invested in the UK.
HE the governor added that the volume of trade between the UK and Qatar reached £5.3bn in 2018, pointing out that according to the latest figures, about 4,500 British trading companies exported a range of goods to Qatar, while 500 companies imported from the country.
The Lord Mayor of London Peter Estlin said: “Qatar presents huge long-term opportunities for the City of London and the UK’s financial services industry.”
“After a fruitful visit to Doha earlier this month, I’m looking forward to welcoming Qatar Central Bank Governor HE Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud al-Thani to London, as we continue to embark on the start of a great new chapter in our economic partnership,” Estlin added.
“Qatar’s considerable investments have created jobs and prosperity across the UK. I look forward to discussing how we can continue that progress, as well as looking at how the UK can help develop Qatar’s financial services industry. Together, we have the opportunity to deepen and grow our ties in the years to come.” he said.
Also, senior business executives of the two countries and representatives of the two countries’ governments listened to reports highlighting Britain’s and Qatar’s promising investment opportunities in various fields, particularly banking, research, and technology.
London’s hosting of Qatar Day highlights the UK’s commitment to supporting Qatar’s plans to diversify its economy as part of the Qatar National Vision 2030.
It also demonstrates the UK’s keenness to take advantage of mutual opportunities in business through asset management, cybersecurity and sustainable financing (including Islamic finance and green finance) and FinTech for the benefit both British and Qatari companies.
The event follows a high-level commitment between the UK and Qatar in 2017 to strengthen the strategic relationship between the two countries.
The event comes shortly after Fox’s recent visit to the region and the development of British-Qatari relations over the past year, including the cooperation between the Joint Economic and Trade Commission between Qatar and the UK.
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