Simon Penney, Her Majesty's Trade Commissioner (HMTC) for the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, ended a two-day visit to Lebanon. This is his first visit since assuming his role in October 2018, and it comes ahead of the much-anticipated Lebanon Investment Conference taking place in London next month, the British embassy said in a statement on Friday.
During his meetings with the Prime Minister, Minister of Trade and Economy, President of the Council of Development and Reconstruction, Heads of Lebanon’s Trade and Economic Associations, and the UK-Lebanon Tech Hub, Mr. Penney voiced the UK’s strong relationship with Lebanon, the quality of UK companies in Lebanon and the opportunities to deepen UK-Lebanese trade ties and support Lebanese prosperity. He welcomed from his Lebanese counterparts the importance they placed on steps to make the business environment more appealing to overseas investors, including implementation of the CEDRE reform once the new government is formed.
As part of his role, Mr Penney aims to forge new business and economic relations that will drive trade and investment bilaterally and across the region.
Speaking after visit, Simon Penney said:
‘I am delighted to be in Lebanon for the first time in my new role as Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner. Lebanon is a key ally and friend of the UK and we are pleased that it continues to be a key partner in our endeavour to drive commercial ties between our two countries.
I had excellent meetings across the board with government officials and the private sector, and had a private meeting PM Saad Hariri. We want to work in partnership with business and government to identify opportunities for greater collaboration; we believe that the true potential of opportunities between Lebanon and the UK has not yet been tapped. There are considerable PPP opportunities in infrastructure and energy, which presents significant potential for UK firms to partner with Lebanese companies. UK expertise has much to contribute in sectors which are key to transformation such as education and healthcare.
British Ambassador to Lebanon Chris Rampling said:
‘I am delighted to welcome HMTC Simon Penney to Lebanon, at an important time for trade relations between our two countries. We strongly support the Lebanon-UK Business and Investment Forum in London next month. This is an important economic and trade milestone for Lebanon and the UK.
This week for example, we took part in the launch of a unique partnership between the UK and Lebanon, in the form of the new London Stock Exchange Group’ ELITE programme for Lebanese businesses. LSE’s ELITE programme has an excellent reputation and track record of taking the best businesses through the dual listing process and helping them to access significant investment into firms that are willing to make the necessary corporate governance and capital structural improvements to attract global investors. This is good news for Lebanon’s economy.
Our nations have much in common: an entrepreneurial spirit, a highly educated and highly skilled workforce and a global outlook that champions business large and small. We look forward to working closely with our Lebanese partners and Mr. Penney to explore new trade opportunities and to further foster our UK-Lebanon economic relationship.
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