Six from over 50 countries are participating for the first time in Project Qatar 2013 with the hope of winning a share in Qatar’s infrastructure expansion drive based on innovation, sustainability and durability that match globally accepted building rating systems.
Architecture, construction, power transmission and distribution, water management, information-technology and heavy machinery companies from Canada, South Korea, India, Thailand, Spain and Romania are showcasing their products.
Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment representative Al Hinton, who is the area director, Middle East Trade Branch, said, “The Ontario government is partnering with the Canadian embassy in Qatar for our first national and provincial exhibition at the 10th anniversary of Project Qatar. We have nine exhibitors that are within our pavilion besides half a dozen other standalone exhibitors.”
On the objectives for participating in Project Qatar for the first time, Hinton said, “We want to showcase Ontario’s key industries from the construction sector like architecture, project management, fast-build solutions, metal, flooring, retractable glass domes and security companies.”
Having won the rights to host major international sports events like the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar and the GCC nations have a huge opportunity as they continue to expand their infrastructure, he said. “We are keen to be part of this since Qatar and Canada have great business relationships over a number of years,” he added.
“These ties are further boosted with Qatar Airways flying three times a week to Montreal. They are a good client of Bombardier too. We are now looking at the Doha Metro and GCC rail projects. Ontario has a lot to offer here. We represent around 42% GDP of Canada with over 10,000 manufacturing companies and we have a little over a third of Canada’s population,” Hinton said.
Regarding Qatar’s push for global construction industry standards and sustainable development, he said, “Most Canadian companies design and build to LEEDS Platinum standard.”
The LEED green building rating system – developed and administered by the US Green Building Council, a Washington DC-based, nonprofit coalition of building industry leaders – is designed to promote design and construction practices that increase profitability, while reducing the negative environmental impacts of buildings and improving occupant health and well-being.
Another first-time participant in Project Qatar is South Korea, which is showcasing 12 companies under the umbrella of Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).
“We are participating to branch out and tighten ties between Korean and Qatar companies to boost economic growth and industrial development of Qatar to fulfil the Qatar National Vision 2030, KOTRA business analyst Ian Yongho said.
While South Korean whites goods companies have more than 30 years of presence in the Qatari market, this is the first Korean pavilion in the history of Project Qatar.
The products on display by the dozen companies include metal roof tiles, shades, transferable shelters, and LEDs. “There are multiple Korean companies that are not under the Korean pavilion due to the limited size of the space we have leased. We are planning to enlarge the size of leasing space so that many more Korean companies are able to join the Korean Pavilion next year,” said Yi.
Regarding expectations from the expo he said, “Korean products have not yet been fully introduced to the Qatari market. However, we are anticipating high interest from local buyers in Korean products developed through its state-of-the-art technology and innovation.”
Two countries from Europe- Spain and Romania – are participating for the first time.
Trade Promotion Agency of Andalucia’s UAE Director, Rosario Millan admitted the debut is low key with only five companies on show. “It is an opportunity as well as a challenge to be a part of Project Qatar. It is a small beginning with some of our interior and outdoor decorations companies displaying ceramic pots, murals and pottery items which showcase Andalucian culture. These designs are very close to Arabian tastes,” she said, reiterating Spain’s historical ties with Qatar.
One interesting sports product on display is ecological ice rink for skating showcased by Xtraice. “It is a synthetic ice rink which gives similar skating experience as real ice. This is installed in three UAE malls in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah,” Millan said.
Although the Andalucian Pavilion is small, Qatar has strong ties with Spain that extend beyond the football fields of Barcelona and Malaga. She pointed out to the partnership of Madrid-headquartered Obrascon Huarte Lain (OHL), one of the largest international concession and construction groups, with Sidra Medical and Research Centre as well as the country’s participation in Doha Metro tender process.
The other two debutants are India and Thailand.