UK advances trade relations with Qatar and Vietnam as key members of Gulf and Asian trade blocs

Wed 25 May 2022
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

The UK has signed a £10bn investment deal with Qatar and is restarting economic and trade talks with Vietnam.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Amir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, yesterday for discussions on driving economic growth.

The government announced the Strategic Investment Partnership (SIP) which will see Qatar invest up to £10bn in the UK over the next five years, targeting sectors including fintech, life sciences, cyber security and zero-emissions vehicles.

Gulf trade bloc member

Qatar is one of six countries that comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) trade bloc in the middle east that the UK hopes to do a trade deal with, as previously covered in the IOE&IT’s Daily Update.

Johnson said the SIP was a “vote of confidence in the UK’s brilliant businesses and cutting-edge industry”.

“Qatar is a valued partner for the UK, supported by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad’s leadership. We had a rich discussion on the issues that matter to both of our countries, including boosting the economy, ensuring regional stability and improving energy security following Russia’s appalling invasion of Ukraine,” he added.

UK-Qatar trade was worth £4.8 billion last year and Qatari investment in the UK economy is already estimated to be worth over £40 billion.

The PM also confirmed that the UK will ensure Qatari nationals can access the UK’s new Electronic Travel Authorisation system from early 2023, making travel easier for business visitors and tourists.

Vietnam talks

Meanwhile, trade minister Penny Mordaunt will meet her Vietnamese counterpart in London for sessions on how to increase cooperation in education, agriculture, technology, healthcare and renewable energy. 

The UK and Vietnam will today hold the first Joint Economic and Trade Committee between the two countries in three years.

Vietnam is a member of the CPTPP trade bloc which the UK hopes to join by the end of this year. 

The UK and Vietnam agreed a roll over trade deal when the UK left the EU.

Main UK exports

Trade with Vietnam was worth £5.5bn last year, making Vietnam the UK’s 35th largest trading partner.

The UK’s main exports to Vietnam are pulp and paper waste, pharmaceuticals, beverages, metal ore and scrap, and aircraft.