Trade minister Ranil Jayawardena signed a pact to help boost the number of British businesses investing in Qatar and a deal to open the UK export market for the supply of vitamins and supplements. The agreements were signed at the third UK-Qatar Joint Economic and Trade Committee today.
Mr Jayawardena said: “Qatar is an important trade and investment partner for Britain.
“I believe we should nurture and maximise the strength of our relationship to make our economies more resilient and prosperous.
“We are committed to taking steps to further deepen the trade and investment relationship we share with Qatar, and today’s Joint Economic and Trade Committee signals our ambition through two significant agreements.”
It was signed off by Mr Jayawardena and Qatar’s Minister of Commerce and Industry His Excellence Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Thani.
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The new export market for vitamins and supplements will help boost health and wellness treatments available for Qatar.
British-based firm Holland and Barrett is among those to benefit.
Nick Parker, Director of International Development for the firm, said: “Holland and Barrett’s mission is to make health and wellness a way of life for everyone and through our two franchise stores in Qatar we have been able to serve our customers there since 2015.
“However, until now our franchise partner has been unable to offer our own range of vitamins and supplements.”
The new deals come after the UK launched negotiations on a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GGC) in June.
The GGC is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates and is already worth £32.4billion in trade to the UK.
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Demand for international products and services in the region is expected to explode by 35 percent by 2035 bringing huge opportunities for UK businesses.
Announcing negotiations at the time, Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Our current trading relationship was worth £33.1billion in the last year alone.
“From our fantastic British food and drink to our outstanding financial services, I’m excited to open up new markets for UK businesses large and small, and supporting the more than ten thousand SMEs already exporting to the region.
“This trade deal has the potential to support jobs from Dover to Doha, growing our economy at home, building vital green industries and supplying innovative services to the Gulf.”
The hope is a new free trade deal will sash tariffs on cereals, chocolate, baking products, sweet biscuits and smoked salmon.
Britain has sought to sign trade deals across the world since leaving the EU in order to make the most of Brexit.
Agreements with Australia, New Zealand and Singapore have all been brokered over the past 18 months.
As well as a deal with the GGC, the UK also has its eyes on deals with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, India and the US.