Qatar along with other gulf states is aiming to enter into a free-trade agreement with Britain.
Just a day before British Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Brexit negotiations with the EU, Qatar has pledged $6.3 billion (5 billion pounds) for investment in Britain.
Qatar already has investments worth 40 billion pounds in the United Kingdom, including, London landmarks such as The Savoy hotel, Shard skyscraper, Harrods department store and the Canary Wharf in the financial district.
With this level of investment, Qatar could be significantly affected if May pushes for a hard Brexit. No wonder Qatar’s top financial players used an investment conference in London to pledge support for Britain.
“I am still looking, even after Brexit there will be opportunities QIA can really hunt for,” said QIA Chief Executive Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud al-Thani. “Whenever the (British) government would like the QIA to step in we are ready.”
Moreover, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, Qatar’s prime minister said in a statement that Qatar is likely to invest $6.3 billion (5 billion pounds) over the next five years.
Qatar is likely to play an influential role in steeling the UK’s economy against an economic fallout after Brexit.
“The UK will have a new era post-Brexit … The negotiations will start among Europeans and nobody is extremely clear about where the negotiations will lead to, however we can sense the possibility of the UK’s manufacturing power going higher and with that the need for energy,” said Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada, Qatar’s Energy Minister during an interview.
He went on to add, “The UK’s manufacturing and industrial sector thriving and going up is possible, and for that Qatar will always be there to supply the energy required. Certainly we can contribute to the UK’s need”.
Britain could also potentially enter into a free-trade agreement with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, including Qatar and the two biggest Arab economies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“Qatar is supporting that. That would be excellent. Qatar will do its best to further this agreement,” said Sada.
Britain exit from the European Union, likely to take place in 2019, has raised a number of questions as to its economic future, especially since questions are being raised as to whether London can hold on to its crown jewels – its financial centre.
May is scheduled to formally notify EU of Britain’s intention sometime on Wednesday, March 29.
Britain joined the European Union in 1973.