Strong links with the UK
Qatar has strong political, cultural, and economic ties to the UK. English is widely spoken and the UK brand is highly regarded in Qatar.
National Vision 2030
British companies have a long history of success in the Qatari market developments, across a broad range of sectors, including energy and sports. The National Vision seeks to reduce reliance on oil and gas revenues, increase economic diversity (including developing a local knowledge-based economy) and stimulate the private sector.
Foreign direct investment incentives
Qatar has various initiatives to encourage foreign direct investment (FDI). There are 2 free zones, designed to allow for 100% foreign ownership, one near Hamad International Airport and one near Hamad Port (Qatar Free Zone Authority, 2019). Manateq, Qatar Financial Centre and Qatar Science and Technology Park operate as free-zone-style locations.
Top five UK goods exported to Qatar, in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2023
|Mechanical power generators (intermediate)||1.0|
|Scientific instruments (capital)||0.1|
Total import value (into the UK from Qatar) and export value (from the UK into Qatar) over time
|Year||Imports (£billion)||Exports (£billion)||Total trade (£billion)|
ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2023
Total trade is the sum of all exports and imports over the same time period.
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Qatar.
Qatar: at a glance
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Opportunities for exporters
There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in the Qatar have identified opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors:
UK expertise in major sporting events
The UK has an excellent reputation for sport, both participating in and staging world-class events. UK companies are the partners of choice for local firms and organising committees in major sporting events across the world. Opportunities include construction, security, facilities management, event management, retail, transport, hospitality, and creative industries.
Qatar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup Legacy
Qatar’s stadiums are equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, including cooling technology making them suitable for year round events. Opportunities for UK businesses will continue, as Qatar’s World Cup Legacy programme repurposes the World Cup stadiums for wider sporting events to continue to attract visitors to Qatar.
Qatar as an emerging sport and media hub
Qatar’s vision is to become a global hub for sports tourism and media. Opportunities for UK companies are likely to continue in all sports and media segments, as Qatar continues to diversify and reposition itself in the global market as part of the National Vision 2030.
North field expansion
Shell's investment at the Pearl Gas to Liquids (GTL) plant at Ras Laffan is the single largest foreign investment in the country. There are many opportunities supporting North Field expansion operations and supply chains. These include deployment of new rigs, drilling, oil-rig maintenance, and supply of pumps, valves, and health and safety equipment.
Clean Growth transition
Qatar’s sustainability strategy has led to a commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 25%. It aims to electrify all public transport and bring online over 4GW of renewable energy (10% of the demand) by 2030. A broad range of potential opportunities for UK businesses exists as Qatar explores clean growth solutions in all sectors.
Qatar’s ambitious renewables strategy includes implementing technologies in solar, carbon capture, waste-to-energy and other renewable/efficiency service technologies. The wide scope of renewables offers opportunities across design, project management and supply chain development opportunities to UK exporters.
Opportunities for UK exporters
The UK and Qatar enjoy strong political, cultural, and economic ties. UK businesses are respected for quality and expert delivery, particularly in design, project management and consulting. Opportunities are broad and span a range of infrastructure projects including road, street and water infrastructure, transport, education, retail, healthcare and defence infrastructures.
Expansion and enhancement of legacy projects
Qatar’s 2030 roadmap looks forward beyond the 2022 FIFA World Cup, focussing on enhancements to Legacy projects including extensions to the Metro and Airport. The beautification project aims to create a sustainable and social environment that improves the city experience, by adding footpaths, cycle paths, footbridges, street furniture, and artwork.
Qatar’s Smart City initiative, led by TASMU, focusses on identifying technologies and solutions that can digitally transform its 5 main focus areas of transportation, logistics, healthcare, environment and sports. UK technology expertise is well respected, as is the experience drawn from many UK cities that have already designed and delivered their own smart city concepts.
The UK and Qatar signed a bilateral agreement in 2017 to increase collaboration in the healthcare sector, building on the UK’s world-leading capability in this area. There are opportunities for both private and public sector. Qatar’s adaptation of the NHS model makes it easier for UK companies to propose their services.
Opportunities for UK businesses in Qatar’s governmental healthcare sector, include clinical data that has been digitalised. Further priorities include, enhancing data management to improve chronic disease monitoring and promoting e-health solutions. Project and facilities management opportunities are also available as Qatar expands its healthcare services and advances its technology enabled care offering.
Private sector priorities
Private healthcare is a popular choice for the large proportion of expatriates living in Qatar. Opportunities for UK businesses include health facilities management, specialised clinical offerings, pharmacy and drug distribution, medical device development, e-health, design, build and consultancy.
Supply of equipment
There are opportunities in areas such as secure cities, with demand for new and innovative approaches to CCTV technology, surveillance and tracking systems, security screening and national protection. There remains a window of opportunity ahead of FIFA’s 2022 World Cup, through showcasing at Qatar-based events (Dimdex 2022 and Milipol 2022) scheduled to occur before the tournament.
Qatar has an evolving technological landscape, with a growing youth population relying heavily on mobile communications. The National Cyber Agency introduced in 2021, contributes towards Qatar’s long-term vision of consolidated centralised national cyber security. The UK brand is well regarded in Qatar, with potential export opportunities in AI, Big Data, Cloud cybersecurity, FinTech and operational technologies.