Since the establishment of the distinguished Qatari-German relations, both countries have demonstrated a mutual commitment to developing and enhancing their growing friendship and co-operation. Within the framework of continuing this commitment, President of the friendly Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, visited Qatar yesterday.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani welcomed the German president at the Amiri Diwan to discuss bilateral relations and explore ways to support and develop them in various areas, particularly in the trade, economic, and investment fields, and reviewed regional and international issues of mutual interest.
This visit provided an opportunity to further advance, strengthen, and broaden the relations between Doha and Berlin, serving their common goals and the aspirations of their friendly people. The visit and the talks enhanced bilateral partnership opportunities, opened new horizons for co-operation, especially in the energy, economic, and investment sectors, explored wider opportunities, and strengthened the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries in a way that benefits both nations and their peoples in all areas.
The diplomatic relations between Qatar and the Federal Republic of Germany were established in 1973. Qatar is considered a key partner for Germany in the Middle East and North Africa region, based on over 60 years of trade relations and nearly half a century of political and diplomatic ties, which have positively impacted the people of both nations. The Qatari-German relationship is based on solid foundations of trust, mutual respect, and joint interests. These strategic relations, supported by close co-operation, have been strengthened further in recent years in light of Qatar’s expanded political role, represented in its mediation efforts in regional and international conflicts. There is ongoing dialogue and constant consultation between the two sides regarding political co-ordination on regional issues and urgent international files.
The two countries are linked by several economic agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs), including the agreement on the mutual protection and promotion of investments, and others in the fields of industry, trade, health, culture, sports, archaeology, solar energy, civil aviation, and air transport.
There is also the agreement to establish a joint committee for trade, economic, and technical co-operation, which has organised numerous sessions over the years.
In May, Qatar and Germany signed an MoU to establish a strategic dialogue between the two countries, providing an important platform for discussing energy issues and co-operation. The Qatari-German relationship is expected to witness a new impetus and broader horizons, given the momentum from high-level visits between Doha and Berlin — notably, HH the Amir’s visit to Germany in October, HH the Amir’s working visit to Germany in May 2022, and the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to Doha in September of last year.
During these visits, the two sides discussed relations and ways to enhance them in all aspects. The two countries also signed a Joint Declaration of Intent to enhance co-operation in the energy field within the framework of a successful and ongoing dialogue between Qatar and Germany. This co-operation is expected to develop into an energy partnership by building trade relations in the field of liquefied natural gas (LNG) that serve the interests of both countries and achieve their climate action ambitions. This partnership is anticipated to diversify Germany’s energy supply through LNG imports from Qatar, while facilitating bilateral co-operation in hydrogen energy and renewable energy sources.
In November last year, QatarEnergy signed two long-term LNG sale and purchase agreements (SPAs) between QatarEnergy and ConocoPhillips affiliates in Doha for the delivery of up to 2mn tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG from Qatar to Germany. According to the agreement, a ConocoPhillips wholly-owned subsidiary will purchase the agreed quantities to be delivered ex-ship to the “German LNG” receiving terminal, which is currently under development in Brunsbüttel in northern Germany, with deliveries expected to start in 2026. Germany, Europe’s largest gas market, has a significant demand in the industrial, electricity, and domestic consumption sectors.
The Qatari-German economic relationship has seen steady growth over the past six decades. Qatar has emerged as a significant economic partner for Germany in the region. Germany ranks third among European countries in attracting Qatari investments, following the UK and France. Qatar is one of the largest investors in Germany, contributing around €25bn.
Qatari investments cover an array of sectors including the automotive, communications, hospitality, banking, and other important sectors. In September 2022, the Qatari Ministry of Commerce and Industry signed a strategic partnership agreement with the German Association for Small and Medium Businesses, to open a representative office for the association in Qatar — the first of its kind in the Gulf region. This agreement contributes to increasing the presence of German companies in Qatar and reflects positively on the movement of trade and investment and the establishment of fruitful partnerships between the business sectors in both countries.
Over 300 German companies contribute to Qatar’s economic development, operating in vital sectors such as energy, construction, services, railway development, trade, contracting, communications, and medical equipment, among others.
Qatar holds significant stakes in major German commercial and banking groups and is considered the largest shareholder in the automotive giant Volkswagen Group, with an investment of $9bn. Qatar’s investments are not limited to the industrial and technology sectors. They also extend to the shipping sector, investing in Hapag-Lloyd, one of the world’s largest shipping companies, and in Hochtief, the largest construction company in Germany, which operates globally. Additionally, Qatar invests in RWE AG (RWE), one of the world’s largest renewable energy producers, with a total value of €2.4bn.
The trade volume between Qatar and Germany exceeded $2bn in 2022. Recently, there has been an increased frequency of German trade delegations visiting Doha, reflecting the German private sector’s interest in exploring investment opportunities in Qatar and forming alliances with Qatari companies in various fields, including energy and manufacturing.
To attract foreign investments, Qatar, aligned with its National Vision 2030, has created a conducive investment climate through a series of laws and legislation that attract investment, coupled with the country’s political and social stability, strong and balanced relationships with all parties, as well as its strategic geographic location as a major commercial gateway connecting East and West. Furthermore, Qatar’s advanced digital infrastructure ensures smooth trade and capital flow for international investors, facilitated by its large commercial port and airline routes connecting it to major cities and global trade routes.
Germany, with an area of over 357,000 square kilometres, is a highly industrial exporting country, deeply integrated into the global economy. It boasts strong export sectors and is one of the world’s most developed and best-performing industrial countries. Germany is the fourth-largest economy globally, following the United States, Japan, and China, and is the largest and most important market in the European Union (EU), with a population exceeding 82mn.
Germany shares extensive borders with nine other countries, eight of which are EU members. Its economy is centred on industrial products and services, with German machinery, automobiles, and chemical products enjoying a distinguished global reputation. Due to its significant export orientation, Germany is highly interconnected with the global economy. Exports of goods and services contribute to over a quarter of Germany’s GDP, with more than one-fifth of jobs dependent on exports.
In 2009, with its export volume of $1,121bn, Germany ranked second in the world after China. Asia represents the second most important market for German products, with China being its most crucial trading partner. Since 1999, Germany has been the largest European investor in China, with approximately 2,500 German companies investing in various Chinese sectors. (QNA)