Qatar is on strong footing
At a time when the United Kingdom (UK) is looking for partners post Brexit, Qatar (QAT) emerges as a strong contender.
Qatar has been one of the few Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries which had started diversifying its economy away from energy-driven exports. The graph below shows the country’s economic growth over the past three years.
According to the Qatar Tribune, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al Thani announced that the country has posted an average GDP growth rate of 6% between 2010 and 2016, making it among the best performing economies in the world. He also said that the country is expected to grow by 3.5% in 2017.
At the Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum held in London city, al Thani was quoted as saying “Despite a sharp drop in oil and gas prices over the past two years, Qatar has achieved good growth rates, thanks to its efforts in diversifying economic activities and increasing the efficiency of public spending.”
Further, the Prime Minister highlighted that according to the Global Competitiveness Rankings published by the World Economic Forum, Qatar has been placed at the top in the world tax payment index for both 2016 and 2017.
Qatari companies display their commitment to the UK
Antares Underwriting Services Ltd., which was acquired by Qatar Insurance Co. in 2014, has decided upon a new headquarters, twice the size of the company’s present facility. On the face of it, this may not seem much, but it is indicative of the commitment of Qatari companies and their acquired units to staying in London even in the face of Brexit.
In another display of the long-term nature of their commitment, the chief of Qatar Petroleum, Saad Al Kaabi, told Bloomberg that for companies like his, the cycle of a project is close to 30 years. Due to this long-term nature of the business, short-term events do not matter much to them. This is the reason why Qatar Petroleum, the majority owner of South Hook LNG in the UK, is looking at making further infrastructure investment that has the potential to increase consumption.
With commitments like these, the UK has a strong ally in Qatar and this could provide confidence to other countries to consider increasing bilateral business ties as well. The weak pound may provide another reason for foreign investors to consider taking another look at UK.
Deals and commitment like these provide a win-win situation for both parties and could help soften the blow for the UK were it to experience a hard landing post Brexit.