The bilateral economic cooperation between Qatar and Iraq witnessed an extraordinary growth over the last couple of years. The two-way trade exchange between the two increased from QR226m in 2016 to QR472m in 2018, which has grown more than double, said the Minister of Commerce and Industry H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari at a Forum held in the Iraqi capital.
The Minister of Commerce and Industry chaired Qatar’s delegation to the first Qatari-Iraqi Businessmen Forum that was organised in Baghdad on March 17, 2019 within the framework of the Qatari delegation’s visit to Iraq.
The Qatari-Iraqi businessmen forum aims to enhance bilateral trade, investment and industrial cooperation and promote dialogue between representatives of the Qatari and Iraqi private sectors to lay the foundations for investment projects that serve the interests of both countries.
Minister Al Kuwari said the forum builds on the series of official visits and the ongoing efforts by Qatari and Iraqi businessmen and trade and investment delegations to lay the foundations of economic cooperation and promote innovative investment projects that serve the aspirations of both countries.
He added that Qatar and Iraq enjoy close relations and a history of geographical and cultural ties, which reflected positively on the level of bilateral cooperation in various fields, particularly on the trade, economic and investment levels.
Despite regional geopolitical and economic uncertainties over the past years, Qatari-Iraqi bilateral trade increased significantly, noting that the growth in bilateral trade reflects the keenness of both countries to establish solid trade and investment partnerships.
The Minister stressed that Qatar and Iraq should capitalize on their potential and create an appropriate environment and clear frameworks to meet the developmental aspirations of both countries.
Touching on Iraqi investments in Qatar, he praised the Iraqi private sector, noting that around 268 companies, jointly owned by Qatari and Iraqi citizens, and four companies fully owned by Iraqi nationals, are currently operating in Qatar.
The Minister said he looks forward to intensifying the exchange of visits and meetings as well as the organization of events such as today’s forum, which provides a key opportunity for networking and the discussion of future trade and investment cooperation mechanisms.
On another note, he highlighted that Qatar has succeeded, thanks to its wise leadership to cement its position as a leading investment destination in the region despite the unjust blockade imposed on the country since 2017.
In this context, Qatar has sought to open its economy to the world by strengthening relations with its various trading partners, particularly Iraq, which is strategically positioned to contribute to regional economic growth and trade activities, he said.
He also highlighted the advantages of Qatar’s business-friendly environment and state-of-the-art logistics infrastructure.
The Minister called on Iraqi companies to set up industrial projects in various sectors, particularly the food and pharmaceutical industries, noting that foreign companies which serve the Iraqi market may establish industrial facilities in free zones and export their products to the Iraqi market or expand into new regional markets.
He concluded his remarks by noting that the visit of the Qatari delegation to Iraq reflects the determination of both countries to further consolidate cooperation and establish strong strategic partnerships that align with their shared objectives of sustainable development.
The Minister of Commerce and Industry attended the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Qatar Polymer Industrial Company and Al Qawas Real Estate Investments Company.
The forum, which brought together a large number of businessmen, investors and executives from major Qatari and Iraqi companies operating in various industries, featured bilateral meetings that focused on promising investment opportunities in both countries. Discussions also touched on the development of long-term economic cooperation mechanisms.