16 Jul 2017 - 23:10
No impact of siege on UK-Qatar trade
Many British companies have reported that the blockade imposed by some of Qatar’s neighbouring countries has not yet had any significant impact on UK-Qatar business activities, noted a statement issued by British Chamber of Commerce Qatar (BCCQ).
“Following the severing of diplomatic ties with Qatar by many of its regional neighbours, most notably by Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, the Qatar government has reacted promptly to stabilise the economy and ensure commercial and trade relations remain undamaged. The government has also stated that it intends to continue its current infrastructure and development programme on the same timetable as before. The general reaction from the market is that it remains business-as-usual,” noted the statement.
The primary impact has been the need to reroute cargo (both flights and shipping) via Oman and Kuwait. The Qatar authorities have moved swiftly to agree new measures to strengthen the trade and shipping links with the Omani ports of Sohar and Salalah and similarly to reinforce air links with Kuwait, Muscat and other hubs in the wider region. That net effect has inevitably meant small delays to cargo shipments and increased transportation costs. But overall, the impact has not been as dramatic as initially feared and shipments are now arriving on a regular basis.
The BCCQ said that it remains confident about the long-term economic prospects for Qatar, which look exceedingly strong. While it is hard to say how quickly and amicably the dispute will be resolved, attractive business opportunities in all sectors remain for UK businesses to expand trade with Qatar.
In the eyes of the business community in Qatar the breakdown in relations has not affected commercial and economic affairs unduly. For those UK companies with existing business in Qatar or immediate prospects, the British Chamber would encourage you to renew contact with your key customers and partners and make early plans to visit the market.