Australia, a major food surplus country, is expected to be roped in as one of the important partners to play a key role in achieving the objectives of Qatar’s QR1.6bn ambitious strategic food security project at Hamad Port, said a senior official of Qatar Chamber, yesterday.
Qatar is in the process of developing strategic food security facilities and warehouses at newly opened world-class port with the capacity of providing stockpile of processed and stored food for 3 million people for two years as well as be able to re-export food stuff to regional countries from the port.
“As a private sector we are looking for strategic international partners for cooperation as we expect that the government will hand over the project to private sector to run it efficiently. And Australia, being a major food producing country, can be one of the important partners,” Mohammed bin Ahmed bin Towar Al Kuwari, First Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of QC, told The Peninsula on the sidelines of a meeting with the visiting Australian trade delegation.
Al Kuwari added: “They can contribute and add value to the project at whatever capacity they intend to cooperate like the other countries are likely to do. There is time and we are discussing ways of enhancing cooperation with Australia, especially with regard to food security and the logistics sector.”
Commenting about bilateral cooperation, Al Kuwari, who is also a prominent businessman, said that Australia is a right and reliable trade partner of Qatar. Qatar has already made huge investments in the resource-rich country, mainly in its agriculture sector. “We intend to deepen and expand cooperation in boosting trade, logistics and other sectors.”
Al Kuwari presided over the Qatari side, which included several prominent businessmen from Qatar, including Mohammad Althaf, Director of Lulu International Group in Qatar, Remy Rowhani, and others, for discussions on investment opportunities.
With the members of the trade delegation, which included representatives from ‘Regional Development Australia’ (RDA), a trade and investment facilitating body promoting investments in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu, and Kangaroo Island.
The other side was chaired by Australian Ambassador to Qatar Axel Wabenhorst. Among the delegates were Daniel Mitroussidis, Director, Innovative Total Solutions Australia Pty Ltd, and Damien Cooke, CEO of RDA.
“Australia at the moment is having a lot of infrastructure and developmental projects offering promising opportunities of investments to local and foreign investors, including those from Qatar. We see huge potential for growth in bilateral cooperation between Australia and Qatar, and looking forward to strengthen the bilateral relations for a win-win situation,” Ambassador Wabenhorst said while addressing the meeting.
Wabenhorst added: Currently meat and livestock are some of the main items of Australian exports to Qatar. In addition, we also export a lot of fruits, vegetables and processed food, but there are a lot of untapped potential to expand the volume of two-way trade exchange.”
Earlier during the meeting, Al Kuwari hailed the strong relations between Qatar and Australia. He pointed out that the business sectors in both the countries have an important role in developing economic and trade relations. He said that the two countries have a number of common ground and scope of forging partnerships and economic alliances.
The Australian envoy, in his address, noted that the Australian government is keen to strengthen trade cooperation with Qatar, where Australia views Qatar as an important trading partner and that close cooperation between Qatar and Australia in food security and agriculture.
The joint meeting between the private sector businesses is expected to contribute to increasing partnerships and alliances and review opportunities on both sides.