H.E. Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has underscored the importance of promoting investment and trade cooperation between Qatar and Austria and praised the friendly relations between the two countries as evidenced by the exchange of high-ranking official visits since the 1970’s when Qatar opened its embassy in Austria.
The Minister made his remarks as he co-chaired with Harald Mahrer, President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, the Qatari-Austrian Business Forum in Vienna, yesterday.
In his opening speech, Al Kuwari called on Qatar and Austria to capitalize on their potential to further bolster bilateral trade, which was valued at around €187m in 2018. The Minister emphasized that bilateral trade agreements represent a strategic advancement that would pave the way for the establishment and activation of the Austrian-Qatari Businessmen Council, a move that will strengthen bilateral cooperation and support the establishment of joint development projects.
Praising the contribution of over 51 Austrian companies that are currently operating in Qatar to the country’s rapidly expanding economy, Al Kuwari said Qatar looks forward to welcoming Austrian investors to take advantage of the promising opportunities that Qatar offers. The opportunities in Qatar include investment projects being undertaken within the framework of the Qatar National Vision 2030 and in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
On Qatar’s economic environment, the Minister highlighted that the nation has cemented its position as one of the region’s most stable, competitive and growth-oriented economies, as evidenced by the rising contribution of the non-hydrocarbon sector to national GDP, which reached around 52 percent in 2017.
Citing World Bank data, Al Kuwari said the Qatari economy is expected to grow at 2.7 percent in 2019 and 3 percent in 2020. These positive indicators demonstrate the success of Qatar’s policies.
Qatar is modernizing its infrastructure to increase trade with its various partners around the world. These efforts have been supported by Qatar Airways, which operates a fleet of more than 230 aircraft that fly to over 160 destinations worldwide through Hamad International Airport, one of the world’s leading international airports with an annual capacity of 50 million passengers.
Hamad Port, one of the largest in the Middle East, is also playing a pivotal role in linking Qatar to the world’s major economies through direct shipping lines. The port has cemented Qatar’s position as a major transit hub with links to more than 40 ports in three continents.
The forum brought together Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, Chairman of Qatar Chamber; Sheikh Faisal bin Qasim Al Thani, Chairman of the Qatari Businessmen Association; Franz Wessig Deputy Vice Minister at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Digital and Economic Affairs, along with a large number of businessmen, senior officials, decision-makers and investors from both countries.
The Minister of Commerce and Industry attended the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding between Qatar Chamber and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber.
The forum featured presentations on the investment opportunities that Qatar offers promising economic sectors. Abdulbasit Al-Ajji, Director of Business Development and Investment Promotion Department at the Ministry of commerce and Industry, delivered a presentation on the “Invest in Qatar” project while Ali Hassan Al Neama, Commercial Manager at the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, shed light on projects being implemented in the framework of the FIFA World Cup 2022. For his part, Fahad Zeinal, Chief Corporate Services Officer at Qatar Free Zone, delivered a presentation entitled “Discover Qatar Free Zones” while Eng. Ahmed Al Saleh, Lusail Tram Project Director, highlighted the projects being implemented in this context.
Fahad Al Kaabi, CEO of Manateq, familiarized participants with the characteristics of the economic zones. Philipp Schramel, Austrian Commercial Attaché in Doha, shed light on the characteristics of Qatari-Austrian economic relations. A presentation was also screened on Austrian companies.