By Peter Alagos/Business Reporter
China will play a “significant role” in the development of Qatar’s non-hydrocarbon sector even as the country and its private sector are seeking “alternative industries” to diversify the economy away from oil and gas, an official of the Qatar Chamber has said.
The state will not wait until its oil reserves are depleted, according to QC director general Saleh Hamad al-Sharqi, who stressed that the private sector wants to tap countries like China to strengthen the Qatar’s industrial sector and lessen the dependence on hydrocarbon revenues.
“With China’s help, we would like to search for other industries for Qatar and other GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries. It is a concern now to look for alternative industries rather than wait until oil and gas resources are exhausted,” al-Sharqi said.
But al-Sharqi also noted that oil and gas will continue to play a key role in strengthening economic and bilateral relationships of Qatar and other GCC countries with China.
“Most GCC countries have oil and gas, while China has many industries. We can use these assets to build stronger mutual benefits with each other, which is why China is important to Qatar,” he said.
To strengthen the industrial sector and as part of its contribution to the country’s diversification strategy, al-Sharqi said the QC now has a dedicated section tasked to organise more exhibitions in partnership with other countries.
“We have a plan in the chamber to hold more exhibitions in the coming years involving other countries,” said al-Sharqi, citing the second edition of the “Made in China” expo to be held from November 15 to 18 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC).
He said “Made in China 2016,” which will host around 300 Chinese companies, is organised in partnership with the China International Centre for Economic and Technical Exchanges and the Federation of GCC Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FGCC Chambers).
Al-Sharqi said the QC is currently negotiating for the staging of an exhibition with another country next year, but declined to provide further details.
Tian Guofeng, director of the Exhibition Department of the China International Centre for Economic and Technical Exchanges, said, “China’s confidence in the Qatari market is very strong.”
“We would like to contribute more to Qatar’s construction market, which is why we are staging the ‘Made in China’ exhibition here. Similarly, we would like to take part in the many opportunities provided by the infrastructure projects related to Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022,” he added.
FGCC Chambers secretary general Abdulrahim Hasan Naqi also noted that inviting GCC countries to attend “Made in China” exhibition will be a “good incentive” for China since “GCC countries consider themselves as one economic unit.”
“I would also like to stress that China should have a role in infrastructure projects in the GCC and in Qatar. We have many projects that attract a range of high-technology industries from China,” he added.
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