The growing presence of Italian products and services in Qatar only points to brighter trade relations between Qatar and Italy, Italian Trade Commissioner to Qatar Giosafat Rigano’ (pictured) has said.
In an interview with The Peninsula, Rigano’, who heads the Italian Trade Agency, which functions under the Italian Embassy here, said that not only is the bilateral trade between Qatar and Italy growing, but more Italian companies are also coming to invest in Qatar to further strengthen these trade ties.
The visit of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to Doha on Wednesday also gave a new boost to the bilateral relations of both countries, he added.
According to Rigano’, bilateral trade between Qatar and Italy grew by 15 percent to €2.6bn (about QR10.6bn) in 2018 from €2.3bn (around QR9.4bn) in 2017. Italian exports to Qatar also rose by 21 percent to €1.1bn (around QR4.5bn) in 2018. Italy’s imports from Qatar also increased by 23 percent to €1.5bn (around QR6.1bn) in 2018.
While 90 percent of Italy’s imports from Qatar was mainly oil and gas, the country’s exports to Qatar were machinery, instrumental goods, consumer goods such as fashion accessories, furniture, agrifood, pharmaceuticals, instrumental tools, and chemicals among others, Rigano’ added.
He also said, “We have around 3,000 Italian residents in Qatar and between 50 and 60 Italian companies are operating in the country. But there are even more. More companies are moving from Italy to Qatar due to growing bilateral relations between both countries as well as with their Qatari counterparts. We have hundreds of Italian companies moving to Qatar in order to strengthen trade and business relations with Qatari companies”.
Rigano’ said one of the most significant Italian projects in Doha is the construction of the 60,000-seat Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, which the Italian Prime Minister also visited during his day-long trip to Qatar. The project, which is one of the proposed host venues for the FIFA World Cup 2022, was built by the Italian firm Salini Impregilo Group.
During his visit, Conte also opened the first permanent corner of 100 percent Italian products at Lulu Hypermarket. Through the new partnership between Lulu Hypermarket and Italian farmers’ association Coldiretti Italy and its parent company Filiera Agricola Italiana SPA, authentic 100 percent Italian food products will be exported to Qatar with the ‘Signed by Italian farmers’ logo.
Rigano’ also said: “The Italian farmers’ association is formed by more than 1.5 million Italian farmers. Not only is this for the interest of Italian producers to export their products to Qatar through Lulu Group; but this will also enable Qatari people to discover new Italian products known for their trustworthiness and transparency. And this agreement with Lulu Group is very important because it will help Italian farmers export their produce not only to Qatar, but to all the points of sales of Lulu Group worldwide. That means 160 points of sales in the world from Paris, UK, Europe, passing through the Middle East, India, and to the United States”.
Rigano’ went on to reiterate on how trade relations between Qatar and Italy has developed over the last five years.
He added, “Qatar’s economy has grown rapidly with a stronger market. Our involvement in each level is also very strong. In the last few years, the involvement of Italian companies is quite significant in the country. Also, bilateral trade is continuously growing, which is a sign of how stronger our relationship is becoming. That means we are going to have very important and increasingly relevant opportunities for Italian companies and Qatari companies as well”, Rigano’ added.