The United States is seeking to further strengthen its ties with Qatar to attract foreign direct investment. American firms, engaged in the construction sector, are aiming to play a significant role in building infrastructure and sports facilities in Qatar, a senior official of US Chamber of Commerce said.
"As the US leads the world in hosting sport events, and as it also has experience in hosting the FIFA World Cup (1994), US construction companies are looking forward to opportunities for developing infrastructure and sport facilities that need to be built here," David Chavern, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of US Chamber, said.
Chavern said that the tax and immigration reforms in US will provide investment opportunities and accelerate foreign direct investment from across the world, including Qatar.
Chavern, who was here to participate in the ongoing ICC WCF 8th World Chambers Congress, spoke to The Peninsula on the sidelines of "Distinguished Speaker Series" on 'How to further the US-Qatar Relationship' a monthly event organized by American Chamber of Commerce, Qatar.
"Qatar-US political relationship is important. But economic relationships are also significant. There is potential to further that relationship. As there are opportunities for US firms in Qatar, we see a lot of opportunities for Qatari investments in the US."
He said major investments exist in field of LNG export facility and real estate project (City Centre) from Qatar. The City Centre, in Washington DC, is mixed-use residential and commercial project of Qatari Diar. This is Qatar's first significant investment in US property market and spans over 148,000 sqm. The first phase comprises six buildings — 458 rental apartments and 216 condominiums, as well as 48,000 sqm of office space and more than 17,000 sqm of retail space.
"The City Centre project in the heart of Washington DC is one of the largest real estate development projects ever undertaken in Washington which has received significant investment from Qatar. And the forthcoming legislative changes such as tax reforms and immigration reforms will create more opportunities for the Qatari investors," he said.
He said that the US economy might be growing at lower pace but is still the largest economy in the world. There are investment opportunities in areas such as energy, IT, technology and manufacturing sectors that may ensure more returns than the general GDP growth of the entire economy.
"There is a revolution going on in the US, especially in the areas of natural gas and shale gas. That needs a lot of investments. And because of low energy prices there is resurgence in the manufacturing sector also," he said.
He said Shale gas resources are available all over the world, but most of the places do not have the expertise, technology and human resources to access them. Qatari capital and US expertise can do a lot in this area.
"The current Qatar-US trade volume is over $4bn. And US currently enjoys a trade surplus against Qatar. Some of the US supplies to Qatar include industrial machinery, automobiles, airplane, technology and some food items. Currently, Qatar exports very little amount of gas to the US as the country is becoming self-reliant in terms of natural gas. However, there is a big joint venture between Qatargas and ExxonMobil that takes gas from the US and exports to other counties," added Khush Choksy, Head of US Chamber, Mena region.
The US Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions.