The US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC) is keen to enhance its promotion of Qatar among American companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2023, an official has said.
The council has been busy visiting different cities and states in the US this year and is expected to cap 2022 with the release of a print version of its report ‘50 Years of Partnership: The State of Qatar and the United States of America’, said USQBC managing director and treasurer of the board Mohamed Barakat.
In 2023, Barakat said USQBC intends to double its efforts to promote Qatar by organising more events that would highlight specifically what the country has to offer to American companies.
“The Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar) has joined USQBC, so there would be more events across the US to promote Qatar and to promote the opening of potential manufacturing operations in Qatar.
“We will also try to attract small and medium companies by engaging more with SMEs in their own cities and states in the US. There will be a lot of that as we build on these initiatives in the pipeline,” Barakat told Gulf Times.
He said, “The upcoming year will not only witness many events but also one or two congressional delegations to Qatar similar to what we did in 2021, including trade missions that we could perhaps tie in with a specific event that is happening in Qatar, such as ‘Expo 2023 Doha’ or other activities.
“These events will continue to highlight how USQBC could help companies and how the council could assist in building on this relationship. We will continue our collaboration with the US and Qatari embassies, and with visiting delegations to reach out to more cities; it’s similar to a roadshow but it’s more sector-specific and promoting engagements.”
According to Barakat, USQBC is also looking to publish many reports, especially on specific sectors that put emphasis on investment opportunities in both the US and Qatar. He said the council will also work on increasing its membership next year. After USQBC president Scott Taylor’s visit to Qatar last September, several Qatari and American companies were added to the council’s roster of members, Barakat noted.
On USQBC’s operations in both Washington, DC and Qatar next year, Barakat said: “USQBC will continue at the same level as we had done in 2022. There will be some engagements for the ‘Expo 2023 Doha, Qatar’. We plan to work with more potential companies or perhaps build a trade mission related to the event.
“While there is nothing clear yet, we want to see if we can bring a delegation, which will be very helpful to American companies to engage and find common ground during the event. It’s a big event, which is why it would be very helpful for American companies to be part of it considering that agriculture is a major sector that Qatar is focusing on.”
Barakat noted that a post-World Cup Qatar would open opportunities not only in sustainability but also in tourism and tourism-related services, as well as other areas such as esports and gaming.
“Qatar has built massive infrastructure that feeds into tourism and tourism-related services, so there would be a lot of focus on these sectors. By default, this would create another sub-sector, which is facilities management and operations.
“These windows of opportunities will start opening up after the staging of a major event, such as the World Cup. And we will see how this could translate into potential future events that Qatar would be hosting. The idea of hosting major sports events in the country also opens opportunities in the area of esports and gaming; there would be a potential increase in focus on these areas, as well,” he stressed.
He added: “USQBC maintains its regular engagements with companies specialising in ICT and telecommunications, as well as data centres, among others. And these engagements will keep on expanding. The council will work on making sure that the services actually fulfil the needs of a lot of these companies coming in.
“Some of the bigger companies understand the market because they’ve been present for much longer, but second-tier and third-tier companies might need more hands-on and more tailored services to understand how to enter the market. USQBC is very fluid; we can immediately adjust to fulfil a specific need that companies require. We can adjust our services to cater to their needs and that allows us to operate in a better way.”
USQBC managing director and treasurer of the board Mohamed Barakat. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam