The upcoming visit of Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to the US is expected to be important and will build on the longstanding partnership between two countries by further strengthening economic and security ties, said US diplomat yesterday.
William Grant, Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires of the US in Qatar while speaking to the media about the upcoming visit of H H the Amir, said: “We fully anticipate it is going to be a very big visit.”
During the visit, H H the Amir is expected to meet with President Donald Trump, senior officials of the US government and members of the Congress. Several new agreements including one in the area of trade are expected to be announced and bilateral discussions will be held in areas of mutual interest such as regional issues during the visit.
“The relationship between the US and Qatar is active and diverse. The US is engaged in activities that are helping Qatar; Qatar is doing things that help US and that are our interest. His Highness has visited the US about once a year on a regular routine and that helps both sides to work the agenda we do in the remaining months,” said Grant.
Answering a question, Grant acknowledged that bilateral discussions will focus on matters related to the ongoing blockade imposed on Qatar and issues about Iran. Referring to the blockade, he said: “As the Secretary of State said when he visited Qatar last January that the Gulf dispute has lasted too long. The US believes that resolving the dispute is in the interest of all parties in the region, as well as in the interest of the US.”
He also termed the trade relations between Qatar and US as booming saying, “They have always been strong and getting stronger now. We expect His Highness and the President to announce some commercial deals during the visit. It will involve US and Qatari companies.”
The US maintained a $2.8bn trade surplus with Qatar in 2018, driven by Qatari purchases of US aviation and defense systems and technology products. Overall volume of trade in 2018 was $6bn.
Over 120 American companies operate in Qatar, and the US firms have secured major contracts associated with road, rail, seaport, airport, and stadium projects across Qatar.
“Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is implementing a $45 billion investment program in the US. Over half of these funds, largely destined for real estate and infrastructure investments, have been allocated so far. Qatar Investment Authority makes decisions based on getting the best return for their money. All Qatari companies including the Qatar Investment Authority find the US economy as a great economy to get a good return,” said Grant.
Grant also highlighted that the US and Qatar has a long-standing and diverse military relationship that is growing every month.
“The military relationship is based on shared goals including combating terrorism, promoting regional security and stability, developing capabilities of the two armies. The US and Qatar also work together to combat transnational threats including human trafficking, money laundering, and combating terrorism financing,” he said.
Grant also emphasized on people-to-people ties between Qatar and the US in areas of education and tourism.