Lord Mayor of London Vincent Keaveny underlined the historic and strong relations between the United Kingdom and Qatar, pointing to the significant presence of Qatari investments in London and in other parts of the country.
In a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA), the Lord Mayor of London described the UK-Qatar relations as strategic, noting that Qatar owns many important assets in the capital, London, which highlights the great interest of the Qatari business sector to invest in London.
He explained that his visit to Doha aimed to participate in the Doha Forum, which is one of the most important forums that brings together an elite of decision-makers at the international level; and to meet officials to discuss investment and partnership opportunities, especially green investments, in addition to meeting with a number of British companies operating in Qatar, and examining the level of expertise they enjoy and the addition they offer to partners in Qatar.
He said that he met with officials in the Qatar Investment Authority and discussed the opportunities available between the two parties, noting the important role of Qatari investments in creating job opportunities in the UK and achieving prosperity for the two countries.
In this context, Keaveny pointed out that the volume of Qatari investments in the United Kingdom amounted to about 40 billion pounds last year in the energy, corporate and real estate sectors.
According to the latest available figures, the total number of British companies and representative offices operating in the State of Qatar is about 1,134 companies and representative offices, including 993 companies with joint Qatari-British capital, 2 representative offices of British companies, 104 wholly British-owned companies, and 35 companies registered in the Qatar Financial Center.
The volume of trade exchange between the two countries amounted to about 4.1 billion pounds at the end of the third quarter of 2021, of which 2.7 billion pounds were exports from the United Kingdom to Qatar, while about 1.4 billion pounds were Qatari exports to the UK, of which oil and gas supplies represented about half of the value.
Keaveny highlighted the position occupied by Qatar and the United Kingdom at the international level as centers of trade and investment in the world, which allows them to play a greater role in the global economy and push for a balanced and sustainable development.
“According to our Climate Action Strategy, we in London are committed to being net zero in city activities by 2027 and net zero across our value chain by 2040, 10 years ahead of the UK government’s 2050 target.”
He pointed to the great role of the State of Qatar in the field of energy transition, as one of the major LNG producers, based on its awareness of the issues related to the United Nations green agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals and their fulfillment, noting that these issues were the focus of discussions between the two sides at the Doha Forum.
The Lord Mayor of London also reviewed prospects for banking cooperation between the two sides in the field of financial technology, as well as commercial and financial opportunities that benefit both parties.
He affirmed the two countries’ strong and sincere desire to develop their successful partnerships and exploit future opportunities to enhance their cooperation in various sectors such as green finance, technology, financial technology and energy.
Asked about the possibilities set by London to attract more foreign investors after the United Kingdom exited the European Union and a number of companies left the financial district in London, His Excellency expressed his optimism about the financial district’s ability to attract Qatari and other investments from various countries of the world, especially after signing trade agreements with many countries in the world, in addition to providing the appropriate legislative framework and investment climate to attract investors from different countries.
He noted the attractiveness of London which adopts the world’s leading regulatory standard. “We have a respected and trusted judicial and legal system around the world. It is really important that investors feel that their assets and properties are protected by the rule of law,” he stressed.
The latest available figures indicate that there are currently between 500,000 and 550,000 employees working in the Financial District of London in various sectors.
Commenting on the negative repercussions of the war in Ukraine on the global economy, Keaveny indicated that the global economic situation is difficult and needs caution in managing the crisis, saying, “We need reactive policies between finance ministers and central bank governors in the UK and in Europe, in addition to cooperation at the international level to coordinate policies.”