Qataris shown city’s investment-ready opportunities after PM visit

Prime Minister Theresa May at the Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum

Prime Minister Theresa May was in Birmingham as the city hosted the largest-ever Qatari business delegation to visit the UK.

It was the second of a two-day Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum and came on the back of yesterday’s pledge from the Middle Eastern country to invest £5bn in the UK in the next five years.

Qatar Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and the Qatari Secretary of State, Minister Rumeiheh were among the delegation. They were shown investment-ready projects across Birmingham, including the HS2 station area at Curzon Street and some of the larger planned office and regeneration developments in the city.

“Today’s forum demonstrates why the Midlands is at the heart of a global Britain’s offer to the world,” said Sir John Peace, chairman of the Midlands Engine.

“The investment-ready projects showcased have a value in the billions and will help the Midlands reach its untapped potential in growth.”

Minister Rumeiheh Sectretary of State, Dr Liam Fox MP Secretary of State for International Trade and Cllr John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, at the Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum

Speaking at the Forum, Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox said: “By holding today’s session of the conference in this great city [Birmingham], we are welcoming you not only to the home not only of Britain’s economic and industrial past, but also of its future.”

Fox said he wanted Qatar to be the UK’s partner in realising ambitions to boost the UK regions and rebalance the economy.

Drawing parallels between the Midlands Engine and Qatar’s 2030 National Vision, he said: “Investment in the UK is, of course, about financial success. But that success creates jobs and pays salaries, offering security to people in Qatar and the UK.

“Every penny invested strengthens the bonds of commerce and friendship that link the UK and Qatar.”

Steve Hollis, chair of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “We hope that today’s event will not only lead to increased levels of Foreign Direct Investment and exporting, both critical to further grow the local economy, but also to raising Greater Birmingham’s profile as a global city region.”

Adrian Bland, head of commercial property at law firm Shakespeare Martineau and key speaker at the event, added: “With Brexit negotiations on the horizon, overseas investors are seeking security for their investments and if past experience is anything to go by, the commitment to fairness shown by the UK’s judicial system, combined with the pro-business agenda shown by many local planning teams, could see levels of inward investment rise further in the year ahead.”