(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has expressed keen interest in the proposed development of a logistics and transport hub around Cardiff Airport in South Wales, UK Trade & Investment chief executive Dominic Jeremy told Gulf Times.
Jeremy, who met with the QIA, Qatari Diar, and other investors in Doha, said the meeting revolved around the development of Cardiff Airport, which is part of the "northern powerhouse," a proposal to drive economic growth in the north of England by the 2010-15 coalition government and the 2015-20 Conservative government in the UK.
"We were talking about an investment proposition around Cardiff Airport that the Welsh government owns, including both the land and infrastructure around the airport. They're pulling together quite a powerful proposition for a combined logistics, business, and transport hub based around Cardiff Airport.
"And this very much fits in with a wider political agenda that we've got as the UK government that Mr Cameron is driving really hard to develop economically parts of the UK outside of London and the south east," Jeremy said.
He also stressed that the discussions aim to open the doors for Qatari investors on the Cardiff Airport project, and how they can take part of the northern powerhouse proposal.
"With some of the investment businesses that we were talking to today, we were opening the doors for the whole conversation on what Cardiff Airport has in store in the future," he said.
Jeremy added, "We were also talking about the development of the next phase of infrastructure across the northern English cities € this is a personal initiative of UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, called the 'northern powerhouse' and the idea is to help re-balance the UK economy by devolving economic decisions and investment funding to the cities in the northern powerhouse and supporting them in attracting investors into developing the infrastructure.
"We are opening these doors so that Qatari investors are at the forefront in engaging with us on what we are planning to do in the next five years in that northern powerhouse agenda," he stressed.
Asked about the reaction of Qatari investors, particularly the QIA on the northern powerhouse proposal, Jeremy said, "What I found very interesting here was the very clear message that the Qatar Investment Authority wants to be a financial investor, but it doesn't want to be the lead investor; they also want to be assured that there is a commitment from the British government"if ever you're going to do something that is politically-driven, they want to see British government money in there, too."
He added, "This early we do not know how much investment Qatar will pour into this project but the total level of investment the UK is going to raise in the course of this project is somewhere around £200bn across the entire infrastructure. A fair bit of that is going directly by way of the UK government, and we going to be looking for partners.
"There's a very clear demonstration that the British government has got skin in the game € it is committed to it. But the majority of the investments would be coming from other investors, collectively."
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