The second day of the joint Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum was held in Birmingham on Tuesday 28th March with the city hosting the largest ever Qatari business delegation as part of the Government’s drive to create a global Britain and celebrating the announcement of £5bn investment by Qatar.
The Forum was attended by UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Qatar Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani. It was the first time that a Qatari delegation led by the Qatari Secretary of State, Minister Rumeiheh, has visited a UK city outside of London, with the delegation set to be shown ‘investment-ready’ projects including Birmingham’s Curzon HS2 station.
Strong links between Qatar and the Midlands already exist with the Qatari Al Rayan Bank having a strong presence in the region and Qatar Airways flying directly from its Doha hub to Birmingham Airport. Over the last year, the Midlands has exported £144.3 million to Qatar.
Councillor John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “I’m delighted the Forum is meeting in Birmingham and giving us the opportunity to promote current investment and trade opportunities. I see it as a strong signal of confidence from Qatari investors in the city and the wider region. It’s vital to build links and trade with the rest of the world and seize all the opportunities available to us.
“The Forum is key to securing greater bilateral trade between Qatar and the UK and a chance to showcase the best of British industry. The collaborative, ambitious projects being delivered by Birmingham will help drive global Britain towards economic prosperity.”
The Midlands is already home to world-leading businesses and sectors, such as the automotive, advanced manufacturing and life sciences industries, and is earmarked to lead the way for the UK on next-generation technologies.
The Midlands has attracted record levels of foreign direct investment, with 253 new foreign direct investment projects in the Midlands in 2015/16. And the region is working hard to build on this momentum, undertaking trade missions to the US & Canada, China and India – the leading economies in the world.
Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine said: “Today’s forum demonstrates why the Midlands is at the heart of a global Britain’s offer to the world. The investment-ready projects showcased have a value in the billions and will help the Midlands reach its untapped potential in growth. These projects are central to boosting productivity and I am confident that not only do they demonstrate to investors that they get a return on their investment, but that an investment in the Midlands, which will drive growth and allow our businesses to expand, is an investment in the UK.”