UK keen on boosting Bahrain business ties
Manama, September 19, 2011
The UK has a clear interest in helping Bahrain to move forward, British Ambassador, Iain Lindsay, told members of the Bahrain British Business Forum (BBBF) at a lunch meeting on Sunday.
He said that since he arrived in Bahrain three weeks ago he had already visited about 30 majlises.
"Before I came here people in the UK who know Bahrain told me it was a very friendly place.
"I am committed to giving my support to Bahrain and to building bilateral relationships," Lindsay said during the lunch meeting at Regency Intercontinental attended by about 100 BBBF members.
"Business is part of my DNA and I want to see more UK companies in Bahrain where there are opportunities for business because Bahrain is a great place to do business."
He said UK trade and investment was looking increasingly at emerging markets and the Gulf remained at the centre of UK trade policy.
UK business with the Gulf was on a par with China and India combined, was three times greater than with Russia and five times greater than Brazil.
"I want to see more UK companies in the Gulf," he said.
"Bahrain is not just an important market for the UK but a bridge to Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf. I want the UK to be viewed as the best place in Europe to do business."
He said 20 UK companies would take part in the Middle East Oil and Gas Show and Conference in Bahrain this month.
There would be two pavilions, one for specialist equipment and one looking at universities and colleges training for the industry.
Britain is not only open for business but offers more foreign financial institutions in the UK than anywhere else in the world, he said.
"I have spoken to Bahraini business people who say London is a home from home for them.
"We are seeing an increased number of inquiries about Bahrain from companies looking to invest in the Gulf. Will they come here? I hope so."
He said that surveys showed Bahrain has the freest economy in the Middle East and has come top of surveys on the ease of doing business though it did suffer in competitiveness.
"There is no doubt that confidence in Bahrain has taken a hit but the kingdom needs new companies, new businesses and new jobs," he said.
"More and more companies, particularly SMEs are looking to go overseas and are looking to the Gulf. But they have a choice and Bahrain has competition a plenty."
"They will not invest if they do not think things will be better next year than they are this year," Lindsay said.
"I wholeheartedly urge Bahrain to get on the front foot and give the competition something to think about," he added.-TradeArabia News Service