Germany’s new ambassador to Qatar, Lothar Freischlader, has emphasised that the embassy here will continue working on several key priorities, such as enhancing trade relations, leveraging logistics, and exploring new avenues for co-operation, especially in climate-related initiatives.
Speaking to Gulf Times in an exclusive interview, Freischlader emphasised that Qatar’s geographical significance is a key factor for Germany, citing the importance of global route safety.
On strengthening economic ties between Qatar and Germany, the ambassador said: “I believe we’re already on a very good level, but nothing is so good that it can't be improved. So, we are considering steps to push up trade relations in all aspects.”
Citing the role of logistics in Qatar-Germany relations, Freischlader emphasised that “this is of utmost importance for the German economy and business.” He said, “We are one of the largest export countries in the world. So for us, logistics and countries like Qatar are centrally located with perfect airports and seaports, among other factors. That is very important for us.”
The ambassador also emphasised the embassy’s constant co-operation with the business sector and other different entities, emphasising the traditional and vital role of embassies working closely with local chambers globally.
Asked about the potential role of the embassy in forging partnerships between Qatari and German small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Freischlader stressed that the embassy is committed to working towards fostering such partnerships and providing necessary support.
On promoting bilateral foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, Freischlader said that there are plenty of opportunities to invest in Germany and that Qatar is utilising these opportunities.
“The decision is up to Qatar and other Qatari institutions. Germany is always in favour of opening businesses and investments in both directions. If any obstacles were to arise, Germany is ready to engage in discussions to find suitable solutions. But to my knowledge, there hasn’t been a single case where Qatar faced difficulties or encountered obstacles in pursuing investments in Germany,” Freischlader explained.
The ambassador also emphasised the urgency of addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, referring to the severe impacts witnessed globally in the summer of 2023, marked by unprecedented heatwaves, droughts, and floods.
“We must strengthen the co-operation where it is necessary to protect livelihood and I can assure you that Germany is serious about keeping the famous 1.5 degrees Celsius in reach and we will do everything in our power to achieve the ambitious outcome of the COP28 conference,” he said.
Freischlader also said there is potential for collaboration between Germany and Qatar in aligning with sustainable development goals, emphasising the value of information exchange and dialogue between the two nations.
“Germany pays a great value to the concept of sustainability and has its sustainable development strategy, so we want a future in which nature and the climate are protected, few people suffer from hardship, and social cohesion is maintained,” Freischlader pointed out.
He added: “Rapid action is required and as the UN Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved in 2030, we are very close to 2024, so there is not so much time anymore and this will require ambitious transformation, which is why Germany plans to take action in important areas, such as the energy sector, climate protection, the circular economy, housing, food, agriculture, and transport.”