The two-way trade volume between Qatar and France in 2016 touched €1.6bn (QR7bn), which has grown to nearly double compared to €823m (QR3.62bn) seen in 2014.
However, in comparison to €2.5bn recorded in 2015, the trade volume in 2016 witnessed a sharp decline. This decline was primarily due to that 2015 was an exceptional year when trade value suddenly jumped as a result of record sales of Airbus aircraft to Qatar Airways, according to a leading French newspaper report that highlighted French-Qatar relationship.
The article, 'Why France should not abandon Qatar?', published by ‘Les Echos.fr' on the backdrop of the ongoing illegal siege against Qatar by its Gulf neighbours, also highlighted the historic ties between the two nations.
The article noted that the France's bilateral trade volume with Qatar may be smaller than Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but it's relations with Doha should not be valued in terms of trade only.
The France-Qatar relationships are beyond trade and commerce.
They are very deep and of great strategic importance. There are several elements and factors which France need to maintain by extending its support to further deepen the healthy relationships with Qatar.
Trade between France and Saudi Arabia in 2016 stood at € 7.9bn, while with the UAE it was € 4.66bn, that far exceeds compared to its volume of trade with Qatar.
The article said that Saudi Arabia and its allies, which has been trying to strangle Qatari economy, underestimated Qatar's wide and strong network of powerful allies it has developed over the years.
'Qatar has established itself as a significant economic partner for the Western countries, especially France, perhaps the most visible in this Gulf crisis, noted the article.
It also noted that the place of France for these countries is far from being equal.
This can be observed taking into account the rank of France in the ranking of business partners: the 10th spot in Saudi Arabia, the 9th place in the UAE, at the 7th place for Qatar. France thus represents a relatively more strategic partner for Qatar than for Saudi Arabia, despite the largest volume of trade.
In addition, Qatar is France's second-largest customer in the Gulf, after the UAE. Finally, the billions of dollars of strategic investments in France, made under the wise leaderships of the country, in leading companies and real estate assets due to France's economic significance and location.
France is the second largest destination for Qatari investments. In total, Qatari investments in France have exceeded over $22bn.
Qatar has invested in buying shares of major French companies in a wide range of sectors, including hospitality, housing and real estate.
Qatar's imports from France include airplanes, automobiles, electrical and mechanical equipment, steel products, and luxury items.
The number of French companies operating in Qatar has grown to over 200, which are making important contributions in a wide range of sectors, including oil & gas, real estate, IT, cybersecurity, education & training, defence cooperation, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and scores of other fields.
In conclusion the article suggested that for these reasons France must choose its partners well, opt for a diversification approach in its external trade policy, and not abandon a strategic economic player such as Qatar.