23 Mar 2018 – 13:09

By Mohammad Shoeb / The Peninsula

DOHA: Prominent Qatari business leaders and representatives of leading companies from Qatar and the United Kingdom (UK) yesterday held a meeting with the visiting members of a trade mission representing UK’s healthcare sector.
During the meeting, both sides discussed ways of expanding trade relations between the two friendly nations, and also explored business and investment opportunities in new areas, with special focus in the field of healthcare.
The meeting was held at Qatar Chamber headquarters. The UK side was presided over by the Deborah Kobewka, Managing Director of HealthcareUK, and head of the trade mission, and Qatari side was chaired by Qatar Chamber board member Ibtihaj Al Hmadani.
The UK is one of the biggest trading partners of Qatar. The volume of trade exchange between Qatar and the UK stood at $3bn (about QR10.92bn) last year, which is growing fast.
On the investment side, UK is a very safe and attractive investment and tourist destination for Qatar and Qatari investors. There are mega Qatari investments in the UK.
“Qatar and the United Kingdom enjoy profound and distinct relations. Both sides are making very tremendous efforts to develop economic and trade relations for the advantage of the friendly people of the countries.  The strong historical ties reflected positively on the commercial and investment sectors,” noted Ibtihaj in her address at the meeting.
Commenting on the presence of the UK companies and their extent of operations in Qatar, she added: “There are 622 Qatari-British companies in Qatari market with a total capital of QR14.5bn, and out of that 135 are fully British.”
Highlighting Qatar’s significant achievements in the field of healthcare sector, Ibtihaj said that the country has made a quantum leap and mega transformation in its health system in recent decades. Enormous progress in terms of both increasing capacity and advancing the quality of care has been made. In the past few years, new hospitals and private clinics have been opened to provide world-class and distinctive healthcare services for all patients.
“Despite the unfair siege imposed on Qatar, country’s primary healthcare services remain unaffected. Moreover, it has helped us to become self-sufficient in our programmes,” she said. She also expressed her optimism that the meeting would provide a good opportunity for both sides to enhance cooperation in this vital sector and to benefit from the UK expertise in this regard.

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