Qatar-Australia bilateral relation on trade, investment and economic cooperation is expected to witness significant growth over the coming years as both the countries are working aggressively to expand, deepen and strengthen their ties in several promising sectors, said a top diplomat of the resource-rich country in Doha.
The volume two-way trade exchange between Qatar and Australia hit about QR4.84bn (A$1.88bn) in 2017-18, which is expected to register significant jump in the coming years.
“For 2017-2018, the figures for trade in both directions stood at A$1.88bn. That includes mainly the values of goods and services exchanged between Qatar and Australia,” Axel Wabenhorst Australia’s Ambassador to Qatar, told The Peninsula in an exclusive interview.
Wabenhorst said that these are figures until the June 30, 2018, and figures on trade for the full year of 2018, from the Australian side, will take 4-5 months in the new year to come out. Notably, the Australian financial year date runs from July 1 to June 30.
The senior envoy noted that 2018-2019 is expected to register a good growth in bilateral trade and investment as both sides, including the private sector, have accelerated the process of exploring opportunities in both the countries.
On Qatar’s investment in Australia, he said that it has reached over A$1bn (QR2.57bn), which is mainly in the agricultural sector, farms and other areas, but in the coming years the level of investments is also likely to grow as Australia has come up with several promising opportunities.
He also noted that although agriculture is expected continue as one of the largest areas of Qatari investments in Australia, but some of the other attractive sectors which are offering promising opportunities of investment include infrastructure sector, such as roads, railways and airports.
“These are the areas where we need a lot of investments from other countries, including Qatar, but also we have investment potential for those having interest in prestige real estate, office buildings, luxury hotels and others,” Wabenhorst said, adding that he has been meeting with potential investors and making them aware of the various opportunities.
In addition, they are also having their own links with facilitators who are helping them to hold meetings and match-making time to time where they discuss and explore ways on how to contribute in specific projects.
Asked about the possibility of Australian companies establishing manufacturing facilities in Qatar, especially in free zone areas, he said that there are certainly big potential in this regard. But Australian companies and manufacturers need to be made aware about it.
“This is something I am very keen on. I think there is good opportunity and potential for Australian companies to invest in Qatar’s free zones. As two countries get to know each other better, they will realize the opportunities one for the other and vice-versa. Once there is better awareness that will lead to a significant increase in economic ties,” said the envoy.
Asked about cooperation in the field of energy, he said that Australia is also a bigger producer of LNG as is Qatar, but there is much scope for cooperation given both the countries are meeting a significant share of the growing global demand for clean energy.
“Our interests are very much aligned in that regard. There is huge scope for cooperation in this sector for mutual interests, especially on exchanging views and other relevant information about the energy sector,” Ambassador Wabenhorst said.