The volume of bilateral trade between Qatar and France witnessed a significant jump to reach at the historic peak of QR18bn ($4.94bn) in 2019, witnessing a double-digit growth of over 28 percent compared to QR14bn in 2018, the French envoy to Doha told The Peninsula in an exclusive interview.
Franck Gellet, the Ambassador of France in Qatar, also noted that both the countries are enjoying historic, deep and strong ties almost in every sector, including business, trade, and investment. France and Qatar are committed to enhancing these ties to new levels in the coming years not only for mutual interests but also for the recovery of the world economy in the post-COVID-19 era.
‘It is a matter of great satisfaction that our economic exchanges have been constantly growing. Last year was marked by a historic peak since they reached QR18bn. This historic level recalls how deep our relations are and close and interconnected our economies, Gellet told this newspaper through an online interview.
He added: ‘These strong ties imply that we have a common interest in addressing together the ways for reinvigorating the world economy and our own economies. Our two countries happen to be among those that have committed to some of the most ambitious recovery plans in the early stages of the crisis. In light of these swiftly implemented actions, I am glad to note that, once again, France and Qatar share a similar approach to both the goals and methods.
Commenting on the impact of the lockdown on the activities of French companies in Qatar, the envoy said that since the beginning of the crisis, French companies have remained very active. They have adapted themselves to that new context and are willing to get their full power back on the resumption of economic activity. ‘Our companies are also forward-looking and the crisis has not questioned their confidence in Qatar’s perspectives. It is yet the exact opposite.
He mentioned the recent developments of the fast-growing bilateral cooperation between Qatari and French companies. Qatar Petroleum and Elengy, a subsidiary to Engie, signed at the end of February a long-term agreement on LNG receiving, storage, and re-gasification services at the Montoir-de-Bretagne LNG Terminal in France. In April, CACIB obtained from the Qatar Regulatory Authority its banking license to operate in Qatar and is finalizing the establishment of its QFC branch. CACIB is the Corporate and Investment Banking arm of Credit Agricole Group, the world’s 10th largest by assets value. The Thales Group has, in the virtual presence of the Prime Minister H E Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, signed in early May an agreement with the Qatar Free Zones Authority in the view of establishing a Digital Competence Centre.
‘The seriousness and know-how of French companies had already been widely demonstrated through numerous projects such as the Doha Metro system. I am proud that French companies have been selected for this important endeavor that they have completed in full compliance with their commitments, Ambassador Gellet added.
‘I can confirm that French companies will continue to pick up the gauntlet in the Qatari ambition to make the national economy diversified and autonomous in the line of the Qatar National Vision 2030. About 120 are present in Qatar, mainly major groups that are world leaders in their fields, in a wide range of sectors such as oil and gas, aeronautics, defense, security, infrastructure, engineering, urban development, transport, environment, information technology, hospitality and mass retailing. Their dedication reflects the trust that Qatar has placed into French know-how.