business

Qatari investors to explore Birmingham opportunities

Middle East business delegation join Prime Minister in the city to learn about new development and investment projects

Prime Minister Theresa May speaking in Birmingham at the Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum event

Birmingham hosted the largest ever Qatari business delegation today as it welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May and senior business figures to the city.

The Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum was also attended by Qatar Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

It marked the first time a Qatari delegation has visited a UK city outside of London.

The delegation will also be taking a tour of Birmingham tomorrow to see 'investment-ready' projects across the city including the planned new HS2 terminal in Curzon Street.

Links between Qatar and the Midlands already exist with the Qatari Al Rayan Bank having a strong presence in the region and Qatar Airways flying directly from Doha to Birmingham Airport.

Earlier this year, Alduwaliya Asset Management acquired One Eleven Edmund Street in a £22.5 million deal and, over the last year, the Midlands has exported £144.3 million to Qatar.

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

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

"These projects are central to boosting productivity and I am confident that, not only do they demonstrate to investors that they get a return on their investment, but that an investment in the Midlands, which will drive growth and allow our businesses to expand, is an investment in the UK."

Coun John Clancy, leader of Birmingham City Council, added: "I'm delighted the forum is meeting in Birmingham and giving us the opportunity to promote current investment and trade opportunities.

"I see it as a strong signal of confidence from Qatari investors in the city and the wider region. It's vital to build links and trade with the rest of the world and seize all the opportunities available to us."

Steve Hollis, chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "The conference provides a fantastic platform for us to showcase some of the many investment opportunities that this region has to offer and to highlight the benefits of doing business with local firms.

"We hope the 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."

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