HE Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, Minister of Commerce and Industry has said international trade and investment form a key part of Qatar’s future growth and diversification. The US is one of the strategic and largest global partners of Qatar, he said.
Participating in a roundtable organized by the US Chamber of Commerce and the US-Qatar Business Council, the Minister said over the last five years, Qatari-US bilateral reached $26.7bn. An estimated 84.5 percent of the trade balance, an equivalent of $22.6bn, is in favor of the US. He noted that the US is also Qatar’s first destination for imports, accounting for 19.43 percent of Qatar’s imports in 2018.
Earlier, the Minister chaired Qatar’s delegation to the SelectUSA 2019 Investment Summit, which took place in Washington on June 10-12. The roundtable was held on the sidelines of the summit, which was attended by senior officials and businessmen from Qatar and the US.
Speaking at the event Minister Al Kuwari noted that over 753 American companies are currently operating in Qatar, including 118 companies that are fully owned by US citizens, while 63 firms are operating under the umbrella of the Qatar Financial Centre.
Over 15,000 American citizens are also living in Qatar including 5000 high skilled individuals that are currently employed by the private sector.
On Qatar’s economic environment, the Minister said that Qatar is emerging stronger and more independent than ever before with an economy that is now more accessible to the world.
Qatar has successfully established direct commercial routes with a number of strategic hubs and major economies around the world. The trade has been diverted to major trading partners.
The Minister said that Qatar’s solid economic growth also played a key role in the development of the country’s infrastructure and the establishment of a very successful air fleet, operated by Qatar Airways, one of the world’s leading 5-star airlines.
In parallel, Qatar utilized its available high standard facilities and hi-tech logistics to mobilize regional agreements with Kuwait, Iraq, Oman, Turkey, Pakistan, India, Azerbaijan and central Asia. He noted that Qatar is expanding its trade activities through a sea fleet that connects the country with its major trading partners in the world to target a market of 400 million people in its first stage.
As a result, the Qatari economy continued its positive performance during the past couple of years, driven by the wise policies adopted by the State to stimulate all sectors of the economy and achieve increased productivity, which reflected positively on economic growth.
In 2018, Qatar’s GDP grew to $225bn. The annual real GDP growth rate at constant price reached 1.4 percent in 2018, a better than expected rate.
Citing World Bank data, the Minister said the Qatari economy is expected to grow at 2.7 percent in 2019 and 3 percent in 2020 partly driven by Qatar’s success in attracting foreign direct investments.
He added that Qatar’s foreign trade has also shown remarkable growth in 2018 with total foreign trade increasing by 19 percent in 2018 to reach $116bn. Qatar’s total exports also increased by 25 percent to reach $84bn in 2018, resulting in a 40 percent increase in the trade surplus which reached $53bn in 2018.
The Minister invited investors to tap the myriad of opportunities that Qatar offers to establish investment projects in the country.
On the sidelines of the summit, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, held separate meetings with Wilbur Ross, the US Secretary of Commerce; Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO of US Chamber of Commerce; Daniel Mullaney, Assistant US Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East; Larry Hogan, Governor of Maryland; Ambassador Anne Patterson, President of the Qatar-US Business Council; Mike DeWine, Governor of Ohio; Larry Kudlow, Director of the United States National Economic Council (NEC); and Matt Bevin, Governor of Kentucky.
Discussions touched on the promotion of bilateral relations and the development of joint cooperation, particularly in the fields of trade, investment and industry in light of the friendly ties and strategic interests that Qatar and US share.
The meetings focused on the latest developments that the Qatari economy witnessed over the past years and investment opportunities across various sectors in addition to the incentives that Qatar is offering across various sectors.
These include legislation such as the law regulating the investment of non-Qatari capital in economic activity and initiatives to support the private sector, attract Foreign Direct Investment and encourage US companies to invest Qatar.
Discussions also touched on the development of mechanisms aimed at supporting joint investments and encouraging the private sector to establish innovative investment projects in key sectors that would serve the economic aspirations of both countries.
Through its participation in the summit, Qatar seeks to strengthen its bilateral relations with the US and highlight its friendly investment environment and the opportunities offered by the State across various promising sectors.
Qatar highlighted key legislation adopted by the state such as the law regulating the investment of non-Qatari capital in economic activity and the various initiatives aimed at supporting the private sector in addition to the incentives, advantages and services offered to investors to attract further Foreign Direct Investments and bolster Qatar’s competitiveness on the regional and global levels.