Press release

Alun Cairns joins International Trade Secretary Liam Fox at biggest ever Qatar-UK trade show to be held in Britain

The investment potential of Wales and its track record in entrepreneurship and manufacturing will be on the agenda at the joint Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum.


Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns will today (Tuesday 28 March) join International Trade Secretary Liam Fox at the biggest ever Qatar-UK trade show to be held in Britain.

The investment potential of Wales and its strong track record in entrepreneurship and manufacturing will be on the agenda at the joint Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum. Held at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, the show is an opportunity to showcase high-profile ‘investment-ready’ projects including areas like sport, cyber-security and healthcare.

Broughton-based Airbus and Aston Martin, which is to build its new luxury car at St Athan, will be exhibiting at the show. The Welsh Secretary will join speakers pointing out the investment opportunities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Mr Cairns is expected to describe Wales as a country with a dynamic economy and a history of welcoming successful businesses.

The Forum is expected to result in a number of landmark agreements amounting to significant levels of new investment, potentially generating billions of pounds across the UK, including for the Midlands Engine.

The event will bring together Ministers and senior government representatives from Qatar and the UK including the International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox and the Minister of Finance His Excellency Ali Shareef Al-Emadi. Hundreds of high-profile businesses executives, council leaders and academics are also expected to attend.

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said:

The Government’s Plan for Britain will help us trade beyond Europe and make Britain a leading advocate for free trade across the world, as we build on our relationships with old friends and new allies.

Hosting this event in Birmingham ensures the whole country benefits including the Midlands Engine, creating jobs and supporting cities, towns and communities right across the United Kingdom.

Qatar is already the UK’s third largest export market in the Middle East and also accounts for £35 billion of existing investment in the UK. Bilateral trade is valued at more than £5 billion per year and the relationship between the two countries continues to go from strength to strength.

Today’s delegation will be the first of many events that will help cement Britain at the heart of global trade. British companies will show why they are ideally placed to use their expertise to help Qatar deliver a successful 2022 FIFA World Cup and realise the Qatar 2030 national vision.

Yesterday in London, Liam Fox announced a doubling of UK Export Finance to support trade with Qatar by up to £4.5 billion, that will be an additional £2.25 billion to support UK companies exporting to Qatar and for their Qatari buyers in both the public and private sectors.

Dr Fox also signed a new Memorandum of Understanding creating the first Joint Economic and Trade Committee to further ties between the two countries as they explore the opportunities available.

The Prime Minister has made building on existing links between the UK and the Gulf a priority. On her visit to the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) in Bahrain in December last year the Prime Minister expressed her commitment to a true partnership between the UK and Qatar encompassing security and defence as well as trade.

Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, said:

Welsh products are proudly known across the world – from our famous foodstuffs to our engineering excellence. We export everything from the creative output of television makers and illustrators to the aircraft wings used by the majority of global airlines.

Wales is the ideal place to launch a business with a wide range of transport links to the rest of the UK – including a 30 minute flight to the heart of the City of London and dozens of direct trains.

With a highly skilled workforce, the right mix of Government support packages and excellent economic infrastructure, Wales is a cost-effective place to grow your company.

The Qatar 2030 National Vision creates significant potential for the future as Qatar’s social and economic development plan for the coming years. It seeks to build a bridge between the present and the future and aims to propel Qatar forward by diversifying its economy away from oil and gas, and focusing on social, environmental and human development.

At the forum on Tuesday 28th a range of Memorandums of Understanding will be signed between ministers, high ranking government officials and business leaders in areas from healthcare to infrastructure.

Published 28 March 2017