UK’s business and trade minister visited Qatar last week in a bid to bolster trade ties.
Trade between Qatar and the United Kingdom has returned to pre-Covid-19 levels, standing at roughly $15 billion in 2017, according to the British envoy to Doha.
Speaking to local outlet Gulf Times, Jonathan Wilks stated that the embassy anticipates a rise in trade figures while also “looking to the next stage of Qatar’s development.” The demand for British goods has increased in Qatar, and Wilks praised LuLu Group for marketing a wide variety of British food products across its outlets.
The “biggest” number of UK food suppliers participated in this year’s “British Food Week” at LuLu, the envoy told local media.
“British Food Week is always a big boost to our exports and it gives the chance to everybody in Qatar to try some new products or to get to know some of the brands established in the market,” Wilks said.
“This is all very positive. Trade figures have returned to pre-Covid-19 levels and that’s in part, a sign of the new normal, but it’s also a sign that Qatar itself looks set for a decade of growth and LuLu hypermarkets in the Gulf are also very well-established and therefore, it’s a great platform to sell more and more British products.”
Meanwhile, Wilks said ongoing negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are anticipated to increase commerce.
“This matters to the UK because the six GCC states form one of our biggest export markets and there is a will on both sides to increase trade and investment, so we’re working hard.”
Last week, the UK’s business and trade minister, Kemi Badenoch visited Qatar as part of a strategic effort to bolster trade ties and forge closer economic partnerships.
The visit came as part of Badenoch’s proactive approach to secure a comprehensive and groundbreaking trade deal with the six nations forming the GCC states.
“Our hope is that we will complete these negotiations before too long,” British Ambassador Jonathan Wilks told Doha News early May in anticipation of Badenoch’s visit.
“The six GCC states form one of our biggest export markets, and there is a will on both sides to increase trade and investments.”
The economic relationship between the UK and the GCC countries is robust as it stands, with bilateral trade reaching significant levels in recent years.
In 2022, the UK exported £36 billion ($45 billion) worth of services and goods to the GCC countries.