Qatar and UK can Continue to Explore the Growing Synergistic Opportunities
A knowledge sharing session on “Qatar – Land of opportunities” was hosted by Doha Bank on 5th September 2017 at Le Meriden Piccadilly Hotel, London, UK. The key dignitary’s include Mr. Ali Ibrahim Abdullah Al-Malki – Independent Board Member of the Doha Bank Group, Mr Sanjay G. Hinduja of the Hinduja Group of Companies, The Right Honourable Baroness Verma – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development and BREXIT Relations, together with members from the Department for International Trade, the Mayor of London’s Office, and the London Chamber of Commerce. The event was well attended by leading Corporates and Bankers in UK who were keen to hear more about Qatar and to explore further business opportunities with Doha Bank.
Dr. R.Seetharaman, CEO, Doha Bank was the key note speaker and gave the concept note. He said “According to IMF July 2017 Outlook, economic activity in both advanced economies and emerging and developing economies is forecast to accelerate in 2017, to 2 percent and 4.6 percent respectively, with global growth projected to be 3.5 percent. Current global growth prospects are encouraging, though the pace of growth is still weaker than desirable.”
Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on Qatar economy and also showcased the various developments in Qatar since the beginning of the blockade and how Qatar had managed the current situation. He stated “Qatar has a reserve of $340 billion including assets of its Sovereign Wealth Fund, QCB reserves cash and Gold. Together Qatar’s reserves are more than 200% of its GDP. Qatar Banking Asset growth was close to 2.5% YTD till July 2017. The Overall Lending growth was close to 6% YTD till July 2017. The deposit growth was close to 6% YTD till July 2017. Qatar’s Net trade surplus for July’17 was QR11.9Bn.”
Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted on the recent reforms brought by Qatar. He said “Qatar ranked 18th in ‘the Global Competitiveness Report 2016-17’ and stands second in the region. A new law for Public Private Partnership (PPP) businesses in Qatar should provide an additional level of comfort to the private sector and foreign investors. In Feb 2017, Qatar issued a new law on arbitration (the “Arbitration Law”), inspired by the UNCITRAL Model Law (the “Model Law”), an international template for law on arbitration. The Arbitration Law is a positive step towards support of the arbitration process. A law governing the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) is aimed at simplifying procedures for foreign investors. In terms of food security, Qatar now have many local companies that are supporting the country and it can develop these businesses further and boost its food production to provide both locally and internationally. Qatar Budget 2017 has allocated for key sectors such as health, education and infrastructure QR87.1bn (US$23.9bn) which is made up made up of nearly 44% of the total expenditure in the 2017.Transportation and infrastructure projects, which represented a main pillar of enhancing sustainable development, have been allocated QR42bn. (US$11.51bn).The accomplishment of the New Orbit Highway will facilitate the world cup infrastructure works as per schedule. Qatar’s landmark residency plan is a welcoming social and economic reform. It will attract skilled expats to have a career in Qatar. It will also encourage investors as they would be able to launch business ventures. It will help migrants to further integrate with Qatar’s society. On the whole the landmark residency plan will enhance expatriates participation in Qatar’s economy and society in various forms and thereby contribute to sustainable growth of Qatar. Qatar has also waived entry visa requirements for citizens of 80 countries.”
Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on Qatar – UK Bilateral relationships. He said “Qatar UK trade is worth more than 5 billion pounds. Food imports from UK have come to Qatar after the recent economic blockade. Nearly a third of UK gas imports come from Qatar. In June 2017 Qatargas has agreed to sell 5.5 million MT of LNG to Shell from 2019. This deal provides Qatargas with access to Shell’s gas sales portfolio in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. Over the next three to five years Qatar will invest £5bn in the UK economy through various investment funds and relevant parties in Qatar — which will constitute another addition to its already successful investments in the UK. The investments will focus on energy, infrastructure, real estate and services. Qatar has already invested more than £40bn across Britain, including in iconic real estate including London’s Shard building and the Harrod’s department store. Despite the Brexit development impacting UK and the economic blockade impacting Qatar, UK has always remained an important trade and investment destination for Qatar and will remain so and hence Qatar and UK can continue to explore the growing synergistic opportunities between them.”