H.E. Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has said that Italy is an excellent destination for Qatari investments and the country has entered into various sectors and economic activities, reflecting its keenness to use part of its resources to invest in the economies of strategic partners where there are promising investment opportunities.
Addressing the third session of the Italian-Arab Business Forum held in Milan, the Minister noted that the agreements and memorandums of understanding signed between the two countries play an important role in strengthening and consolidating bilateral relations in various fields, especially the economic and technical cooperation agreement.
The agreement on the promotion and protection of mutual investments have contributed mainly to encouraging the private sectors of Qatar and Italy to establish many successful investment projects.
The Minister said Qatar has distinguished and close relations of friendship with Italy, which reflected positively on all levels of bilateral cooperation, especially in the trade sector. Italy is the eighth trade partner of Qatar. The volume of trade exchange between Qatar and Italy increased by about 14 percent last year, reaching $3bn, compared to 2017. The Qatari-Italian trade exchange represents 2.65 percent of the total foreign trade of Qatar. A total of 250 Italian companies are operating in Qatar, including 200 companies with Italian Qatari joint capital and 50 companies with 100 percent Italian ownership.
The Minister said Italian companies play an important role in supporting the development plans and projects of the state, which is mainly based on the construction market, to diversify the activities of its companies working in this area, such as the manufacture of raw materials, in particular the production of Italian marble and construction machinery and equipment and information technology, trade, services and other vital sectors.
The Minister said Italian companies working in Qatar attach great importance to the field of renewable energy, which is of common interest between the two countries, especially in light of Qatar’s intention to establish reliance on clean and environmentally friendly energy in all its development projects, especially those of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
On the economic developments in the country, the Minister noted Qatar has for years set a clear national vision that aims to achieve by 2030, one of its objectives to diversify sources of income, which contributed to support all economic sectors, especially the private sector. The country has taken the initiative to develop appropriate laws and administrative regulations that have facilitated the procedures of doing business in the country and provided an attractive environment for foreign direct investments.
In this context, the Minister pointed to the recently launched one-window initiative to facilitate the procedures of granting approvals and licenses necessary for the establishment of business in the country, as well as the issuance and modernisation of laws governing the investment sector, which allows foreign investors the possibility of 100 percent ownership in various sectors and economic, commercial and real estate activities.
On the Arab-Italian relations, the Minister stressed that these relations are based on a long history of political, geographic and cultural ties, which contributed to the consolidation of cooperation and integration in various fields, especially at the level of trade, which rose to about $62bn, last year compared to $59bn a year earlier.
On the sidelines of the Forum, the Minister met with Dr. Tariq Hammouri, Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply of Jordan; Emanuela Claudia Del Re, Italian Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Cesare Trevisani, President of the Joint Italian Arab Chamber of Commerce (JIACC); Mohamad Abdo Saeed, President of the Arab Chamber of Commerce; and Alessandro Spada, the Vice-President of the Federation of Italian Industries (Assolombarda).
During the meetings, they discussed aspects of joint cooperation, highlighting developments in the Qatari economy over the past years, reviewing investment opportunities available in all sectors, investment incentives and legislation approved by the State of Qatar, including the law regulating non-Qatari capital investment in economic activity, and initiatives launched to support the private sector, increase foreign direct investment and attract more companies to the Qatari market.