HE the Undersecretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Sultan bin Rashid al-Khater praised the strong economic ties between Qatar and the United States, which have contributed to advancements made in both countries despite global challenges.
Al-Khater emphasised that US-Qatari economic ties grew substantially since the conclusion of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) agreement in 2004, and bilateral trade has reached $9.46bn in 2022, making Qatar the ninth largest US trade partner.
He was leading the ‘Economic and Commercial Co-operation Session’ organised on the sidelines of the fifth US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue, held in Doha.
Al-Khater pointed out that Qatari investments in the US are worth $69bn, while US companies contribute significantly to Qatar’s development, noting that some 856 US companies currently operate in Qatar.
Qatar, he said, strives to diversify its economy, and gradually lessen its dependence on the hydrocarbon sector, to build a knowledge-based economy in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030.
He highlighted the many reforms introduced to create an attractive business environment for foreign companies working in Qatar including legislation to regulate the investment of non-Qatari capital in economic activity, which allows up to 100% foreign ownership across various sectors.
He also cited the launch of the ‘Single Window System’ and the establishment of an Investment Promotion Agency to streamline procedures for investors and provide them with the necessary support.
He pointed to World Bank projections that the Qatari economy will grow by 3.4% this year, while its strength has similarly been acknowledged by international rating agencies, indicating a positive outlook for foreign investment.
Nearly 90% of Qatar’s GDP currently comes from international trade across all sectors, yet the country continues to reform and improve its trade policies and adopt new ones to enhance its free trade system and economic openness concept.
Highlighting the economic role of Qatari women, al-Khater stressed that many of the country’s economic achievements would not have been possible without their contributions.
“Qatar is proud to have the highest female economic participation rate in the Arab world today, with many Qatari women occupying leading roles in both the private and public sectors,” al-Khater noted.
He reiterated Qatar’s determination to build its manufacturing, and research and development capabilities, in addition to a clean and renewable energy sector. He urged US companies to benefit from current projects and the financial and legal incentives provided by the different government programs across these sectors.
Al-Khater expressed his hope of strengthening co-operation with stakeholders in the US to adopt the best international practices related to investment promotion and direct it to priority sectors.
He emphasised that the Strategic Dialogue is an opportunity for both countries to strengthen bilateral ties and discuss the mechanisms of co-operation, despite the current global headwinds.
The Economic and Commercial Co-operation Session included several panel discussions. The panel focused on Qatari investment in the US, available investment opportunities in Qatar, strengthening of economic and commercial ties between the two countries, and economic participation of women.
Al-Khater also participated in the ‘Private Sector’ event organised by The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC), Qatar Chamber, and US Chamber on the sidelines of the Strategic Dialogue.
The session witnessed the participation of representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Qatar Investment Authority, the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar, and the US-Qatar Business Council.
USQBC managing director Mohamed Barakat stated, "The US and Qatar already share robust trade and investment that continues to strengthen year to year. Through additional discussions like this private sector event today, the commercial relationship between the two countries will continue to expand and reach new heights.
“The close strategic relationship between the US and Qatar is on display this week as officials from both governments meet for the fifth annual US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue. The US Chamber of Commerce commends the US and Qatari governments for continuing the dialogue for a fifth year and using this platform to ensure consistent and sustained engagement,”
Liz Clark, senior manager (Middle East Affairs) at the US Chamber of Commerce, said. “We were pleased to host a discussion with private sector and government representatives on the sidelines of the dialogue to discuss the fundamental priorities of trade and investment, continuing to advance an important avenue for business leaders to discuss ways to grow economic ties and help inform the economic discussions.”
Todd Creeger, chairman, AmCham Qatar, noted, “Today's private sector panel continues to show the importance of private and public sector collaboration. The American business community is a key stakeholder in the shared US-Qatar economic success. We at AmCham Qatar are proud to represent US industry and innovation in Qatar, and we commend and congratulate the US and Qatari governments on a successful 5th strategic dialogue.”
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