By Satish Kanady / The Peninsula
26 Mar 2017 - 22:20 - London
The high-profile Qatar-UK Business & Investment Forum is set to open here today. The event has brought together several Qatari Ministers, corporate heads and a largest-ever number of potential investors.
Minister of Finance, H E Ali Shareef Al Emadi, Minister of Economy and Commerce, H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani; Minister of Energy and Industry H E Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada; H E Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti, Minister of Transport and Communications are among the Qatari Ministers who are expected to address various sessions. UK Minister for Energy, Jesse Norman; UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox; Xavier Rolet, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group; George Iacobescu, Chief Executive Officer of Canary Wharf Group; Karen Bradley, UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport; and Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business are among key government authorities and leading UK business minds to attend the event.
Qatar Petroleum CEO Saad Sherida Al Kaabi; Qatar Investment Authority CEO Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani; Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary-General, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy will speak on the opening day. Birmingham will host the second day of the Forum, where UK firms will showcase, the high-profile ‘investment-ready projects’. The first day of the Forum, to be held in Grosvenor Hotel London, will see Qatari businessmen and investors showcasing the opportunities that Qatar’s diversifying economy can offer to the UK. Birmingham will host the second day of the Forum, where the UK firms will unveil their potential projects before Qatari investors.
The two-day Forum is expected to result in a number of landmark agreements amounting to significant levels of new investments, potentially generating billions of pounds across the UK, including for the UK’s Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine. Greater Birmingham has the highest concentration of business outside London. It is home to over 112,000 companies, including 2,000 international firms. Major employers investing in the region include HSBC, Jaguar land Rover, MG Motors and Deutsche Bank.
Earlier, commenting on the decision to host Birmingham session, Dr Liam said:"As a government, we are clear that we want to build a stronger, fairer Britain where wealth and opportunity are spread across every community, not just in London and South East. Hosting this event in Birmingham gives us the chance to show investors the untapped potential that exists in this and other parts of the country".
Qatar is UK’s third largest export market in the Middle East and also accounts for £35bn of existing investments in the UK. Bilateral trade is valued at more than £5bn per year.
The Forum comes in collaboration with Qatar’s Ministry of Economy and Commerce; Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Permanent Committee for Organizing Conferences, Qatar Businessmen Association and UK Trade and Investment.
The Qatar-UK Forum coincides with an important political decision by UK, as it will trigger the article 50 of Lisbon treaty to formally quit the European Union, Britain’s biggest trading and investment partner, on Wednesday.