Machinery remains Italy’s largest export product to Qatar with a recorded total of €415.4mn, or a 38.6% jump, in 2013 followed by furniture, helicopters, and iron works, the Italian embassy said.
Italian Ambassador Guido De Sanctis told Gulf Times that last year’s export figures for machineries have improved compared to the €385.1mn total recorded in 2012, which he attributed to enormous government spending on infrastructure and construction work related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the Qatar National Vision 2030 preparations.
Total trade volume between Qatar and Italy in 2013 amounted to €2.780bn with Italy exporting €1.07bn worth of machinery, furniture, helicopters, and iron works, and its gas imports reaching €1.704bn.
Referring to Qatar as a “machineries country,” De Sanctis said Italy recorded a rise in machinery exports to the country with a recorded €1.621bn in 2007 (or a 61.9% jump from 2006) at the height of Qatar’s industrialization phase in the oil and gas sector.
“Machinery is the principal export product of Italy worldwide. Our exports to Qatar reached its peak in 2007 since Qatar needed a lot of machinery for the processing of petrochemicals. Aside from machinery, we had also exported other items such as plants and other products,” De Sanctis said.
The ambassador noted that Italian machinery are built to last for more than 20 years. He added that the machines imported by Qatar from Italy, which are mostly used in the construction sector, are still in optimum condition.
Italy’s furniture industry is also benefitting from Qatar’s huge spending on domestic and commercial interiors. De Sanctis said the highest furniture export total Italy posted in 2013 was €123.7mn, or an 11.5% increase compared to the 2012 total of €97.4mn.
De Sanctis said the huge demand for Italian furniture in Qatar is linked to strong promotion of products, particularly at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile – a furniture fair held annually in Milan.
He said one of the salient points for the success of the furniture fair is related to a wide range of customers from the Gulf region, which the ambassador said “is a field, especially for the Qatari customers.”
De Sanctis also credited an upsurge in the construction of shops, malls, hotels, and private residences in Qatar with the increase in the demand for Italian furniture and similar fixtures.
In January 2014, De Sanctis said Italy signed a contract with Qatar to import 15 helicopters, which will be used mainly as transfer helicopters by Gulf companies for land platforms.
In 2013, Qatar imported five helicopters valued at €70.7mn. De Sanctis said in 2010, Italy exported seven helicopters to Qatar worth €112mn, or an 11.9% increase from the €30.8mn helicopters exported in 2009.
There was an 8.1% decline in helicopter exports recorded in 2011 with only €62.4mn, added De Sanctis, but the highest was recorded in 2012 after Qatar purchased 10 helicopters worth €159.8mn.
Iron works such as tanks and scaffolding exported to Qatar amounted to only €5.4mn in 2013. The figure remains in the shadow of exports recorded from 2007 to 2009 the highest of which was €337.9mn recorded in 2008 during Qatar’s oil and gas innovation phase, De Sanctis noted.