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Rolls Royce seal deal at UK Lebanon Business and Investment event

In a press release by the British Embassy in Beirut, it said: "Senior Cabinet Ministers, including, International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox and International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, will meet with Lebanese PM, Saad Hariri, as he leads a delegation to the inaugural UK-Lebanon Business Investment Forum in London today.

The event saw a deal signed between Rolls Royce and Middle East Airlines (MEA), who have announced that the Airbus A330-900 will be the face of a new fleet of aircraft. The deal will see the British company providing support for the Trent 7000 engines, which power the Airbus aircraft. The combined value of the engines and services to Rolls-Royce is $300 million.

The economic relationship between UK and Lebanon is growing stronger, with a range of significant opportunities opening up for British companies in recent months. Lebanon's $23bn Capital Investment Programme, with more than 200 projects in transport, power-generation and water supply is open for UK companies to bid on.

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, said: 'Today's Forum comes as the UK looks to broaden its trading relationships around the world, as we take control of our independent trade policy for the first time in 40 years.

I'm delighted to see so many opportunities for British businesses in Lebanon, and my international economic department stands ready to assist any business that wants to expand or start their export operation to the country with strong package of support.'

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

'This is great news for British business - and the largest UK-Lebanon trade deal in recent history demonstrates the strength of our ties.

Our relationship with Lebanon is hugely important - covering security, the economy and aid to support it with its refugee crisis - and today's Forum is a vital moment to support Lebanon and celebrate our strong trade and investment links. A stable and prosperous Lebanon is vital for the wider security and stability of the Middle East.'

Prime Minister Designate of Lebanon Saad Hariri said:

'I look forward to the opportunity of discussing our ambitious reform and capital investment program with leaders of the UK business community. This program entails a large participation by the private sector, and I hope today's agreement between MEA and Rolls Royce opens the way for an increase in partnership between our two countries.'

The relationship between the UK and Lebanon has never been stronger. British companies have supported infrastructure development in the country, the UK has provided assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces and investment to help create jobs. Total trade between the countries currently stands at Pound 586m a year, with British exports making up the vast majority of this.

There is already a thriving UK business scene in Lebanon. The Port of Beirut is the busiest port in the Eastern Mediterranean thanks to the Beirut Container Terminal Consortium, a joint venture with Mersey Docks and Harbour UK. And, more Jaguars and Land Rovers are sold per head in the country than anywhere else in the world.

Today's event will aim to develop this relationship further in the context of transitioning to a new bilateral agreement with Lebanon as the UK leaves the European Union. Speakers will include FCO Middle East Minister Alistair Burt, and Her Majesty's Trade Commissioner Simon Penney.

Prime Minister Hariri and the Lebanese delegation will meet with the DIT and DFID Secretaries of State, HRH the Prince of Wales, making this the most senior bilateral interaction in recent years."

Source: National News Agency

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