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UK, Qatar Set Up Joint Committee to Prepare for Post-Brexit Trade Deal | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May (L) greets Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Thani at Downing Street in London, Britain March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall

Qatar has planned £5 billion of investment across all of Britain within five years in a boost for the post-Brexit economy, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani announced Monday.

“Over the next three to five years Qatar will invest £5 billion ($6.23 billion, 5.8 billion euros) 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,” he said at the Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum in Birmingham, central England, which brings together over 400 British and Qatari business leaders and senior politicians.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday Britain is establishing a joint economic and trade committee to pave the way for a post-Brexit trade agreement with Qatar and the rest of the Gulf.

May, who is due to begin the formal process of leaving the European Union on Wednesday, said Britain was seeking to deepen its relationship with Qatar in areas including defense, infrastructure, education, real estate, energy and financial services.

“I’m delighted that we are also establishing a new joint economic and trade committee,” she told the Qatar-UK investment conference. She is due to meet Qatari investors later on Tuesday.

“I hope we can pave the way for an ambitious trade agreement for when the UK has left the EU including exploring whether we can forge a new trade agreement for the whole of the Gulf area,” she added.

Qatar has already invested more than £40 billion across Britain, including in iconic real estate such as London’s Shard and Canary Wharf buildings and the Harrod’s department store, while the country also bought the Olympic Village following the London 2012 Olympics.

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund chief meanwhile said that the vote to leave the European Union would not prevent its future investment in Britain.

“There is pressure from my board to diversify in terms of geography and asset class, but we are still looking, even after Brexit, for opportunities,” Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani, chief executive officer of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), told the forum.

He also announced plans to open an office in Silicon Valley as part of a drive to move the Qatari economy away from oil and into more sustainable sectors, such as the knowledge economy.

The QIA boss said the fund would open a San Francisco office by the beginning of next year.