The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), one of the world's leading and fastest growing onshore business and financial centres, welcomed The Right Honourable, The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Peter Estlin, to the country.
Organised by the Department of International Trade (DIT) at the British Embassy in Qatar, The Lord Mayor visited Doha as part of an official delegation themed, "Shaping Tomorrow's City Today," which focuses on digital innovation and smart cities.
As part of the visit, the Lord Mayor took part in a tour of Msheireb Downtown Doha (MDD), alongside Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority, and other senior UK officials:
Sir Douglas Flint, Chairman Standard Life Aberdeen;
Duncan Sparkes, Senior Programme Manager, Mansion House;
William Elliott, Senior Account Manager, Economic Development Office
and Michelle St Clair, Head of Investment, British Embassy Doha.
The tour also saw in attendance Msheireb Properties officials comprising Ali Al Kuwari, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Clark Williams, Director of Marketing, Fatima Mohamed Fawzy M. A. Hassan, Design Management, Jim Williams, Sustainability & Commissioning Manager, and HSBC Qatar's Chief Operating Officer, James Elwes.
Qatar presents a huge long-term opportunity for the City of London and the UK's financial services industry.
Peter Estlin, the Lord Mayor of London
"I anticipate that this month will be the start of great new chapter in the UK's economic partnership with Qatar, a country whose considerable investments have brought significant job creation and prosperity across the UK. I look forward to discussing how we can continue that progress, as well as looking at how the UK can help to develop Qatar's financial services industry.
"The UK already has a strong trading relationship with Qatar, and it's my ambition with this visit to contribute to the deepening and growth of our ties in the years to come."
"Qatar and the UK have enjoyed a history of strong bilateral, trade and cultural relations, so it is indeed a great honour to welcome the Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Peter Estlin and his delegation to Qatar. I am confident that Qatar's relationship with the UK will further flourish as we continue to explore different avenues for mutual collaboration."
Al-Jaida added: "With over 600 firms registered on the QFC platform, I am delighted to say that 94 firms originate from the UK, and that the QFC continues to consider the UK a key strategic business partner."
"The new district of Msheirib will be a showcase of the future of financial services and HSBC's branch there will be a focal point for the delivery of innovative digital banking services as we begin a new phase of our development in Qatar. HSBC's origins in Qatar date back to 1954 and it is fitting that we are able to demonstrate our commitment to the country as it takes its next steps into the future of digital banking with the opening of a new branch close to the site where we first opened for business."
The QFC is an onshore jurisdiction that allows registered companies to enjoy competitive benefits, such as working within a legal environment based on English common law, the right to trade in any currency, up to 100% foreign ownership, 100% repatriation of profits, 10% corporate tax on locally sourced profits, and an extensive double taxation avoidance agreement network with 70+ countries.