Qatar-Spain bilateral relations continued to register robust growth over the last few years. The two-way trade exchange between the two countries reached over QR5.09bn ($1.4bn) in 2018, witnessing a growth of over 5 percent compared to the previous year, said Belen Alfaro (pictured), Ambassador of Spain to Qatar.
The Ambassador also said that both sides are working to organize a meeting of the Joint Committee for Economic and Trade Affairs and likely to host a Qatar-Spain Business Forum in the second half of this year in Madrid.
“The Qatar-Spain bilateral trade and economic ties are expected to see major growth in the coming years as both sides are working very closely to expand, deepen and strengthen the level of cooperation,” Ambassador Alfaro told The Peninsula.
She added: “The Spanish Business Council, which has now become the Chamber of Commerce of Spain in Qatar, is working to facilitate and accelerate the pace of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.”
She also noted the Chamber is very active and hosting a lot of activities and meetings with concerned authorities and entities, including the top officials of Qatar Chamber, to enhance the level of cooperation.
“After the establishment of the new government in Spain, we hope to reinforce and strengthen bilateral cooperation in all areas, with a special focus in trade and investment,” added the envoy. “We are also looking forward to organizing a high-level official visit from Qatar to Spain which may coincide with the upcoming Business Forum in Spain.”
Commenting on Qatar’s investments in Spain, the Ambassador noted that there are many important investments Qatar has made in her country over the past several years, which include investments in the energy sector and other investments by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), which is one of the leading sovereign wealth funds in the world.
“We have Qatari investments in Iberdrola (a public multinational electric utility company based in Bilba), real estate, hospitality, and tourism sectors. Qatari companies own hotels in Madrid, Barcelona and other places. Qatar has also invested in ports and yachts. This is in addition to private investments in several other sectors,” said the Ambassador in an interview with this newspaper recently.
Alfaro also noted that Spanish companies are contributing significantly in Qatar’s development story as the country is constructing a lot of buildings, roads, and other infrastructure projects in the run-up to the 2022 Fifa World Cup.
“Qatar has developed and constructed very high-quality buildings and infrastructure projects such as hotels, stadiums, roads, and railways, and many of them have completed in record time. The country has witnessed tremendous change over the last decade. We can see a lot of unique buildings and towers, especially in Doha’s skyline. A lot of them are flagship buildings with international standards, which speak volume about Qatar’s fast-growing development story,” she said.
She also said that a lot of Spanish companies, particularly from the infrastructure sector, are contributing to big-ticket projects which are also part of Qatar’s long term vision and economic diversification efforts.
Ambassador Alfaro said that cooperation in other sectors, such as infrastructure, energy, water desalination, education, sports, healthcare, IT and many other sectors, is also expanding rapidly.
She reiterated that over the years, more than 100 Spanish companies have established their presence in Qatar and are operating and contributing to different sectors of the Qatari economy.