The UK is doubling its trade finance funds for Qatar from £2.25bn to £4.5bn, in a move to support UK exporters and their Qatari buyers.

The funds will be available from UK Export Finance (UKEF), for both the public and private sectors, as well as in Qatari riyal.

The announcement was made this week during a UK-Qatari conference in Birmingham. The Department for International Trade (DIT) hosted a Qatari delegation, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani, to showcase UK sectors including sport, cyber security and healthcare.

The two governments signed a new memorandum of understanding creating a Joint Economic and Trade Committee to explore opportunities between the countries.

“We believe that no trade between the UK and Qatar should fail for lack of finance and insurance. That is why the UK government, through UKEF, can give buyers and project sponsors in Qatar attractive long-term finance to make sourcing from the UK more competitive,” said secretary of state for international trade, Liam Fox, during a speech at the trade show.

The forum is expected to result in several new landmark agreements amounting to multi-billion pound investments across the UK. It comes at the same time the UK delivers its formal exit notification to the European Union.

Among the investments being promoted is the Midlands Engine, an initiative to rejuvenate the Midlands. The region is the focus of a new industrial strategy after a majority of voters in the area backed the leave campaign during the referendum last year. Critics have pointed to a lack of investment and subsequent opportunities as being a key reason behind the electoral swing.

“The strategy will help to rebalance our economy, shifting commercial focus to the dynamic, innovative regions of the UK, including Birmingham and the Midlands,” said Fox.

“I have spoken already of the transformative effect that Qatari investment has had on London, but the greatest opportunities of the coming years will lie outside the capital, particularly in the North of England – a region that last year saw a 24% increase in FDI projects – and the Midlands.”

Qatar is the UK’s third largest export market in the Middle East bilateral trade is valued at over £5bn. The Gulf region is on the UK radar. Last December, UK Prime Minister Theresa May was the first woman to attend the annual Gulf Co-operation Council summit in a bid to establish a new joint working group with the region. The group is to examine how to unlock £30bn of opportunities identified by the government for UK businesses in the region.