The private sector will play a significant role in increasing Qatar and China’s trade volume, which dropped in 2014 due to low oil prices, Chinese ambassador Li Chen has said.
Despite the impact of low oil prices, the ambassador said Qatar and China are “looking towards enhancing cooperation ties” by staging exhibitions like ‘Made in China’, organised by private sector leader Qatar Chamber and the China International Centre for Economic and Technical Exchanges.
“Due to low oil and gas prices, both parties have faced difficulties but the governments of Qatar and China have agreed to seek ways to expand areas of cooperation. Qatar-China trade has experienced rapid development and has made great strides, but there is more that needs to be done.
“Through efforts like the ‘Made in China’ exhibition, both governments aim to strengthen trade ties, and both sides have expressed the desire to promote economic and trade cooperation by giving the private sector a bigger role,” the official told reporters on the sidelines of the exhibition.
The ambassador did not elaborate when answering a query on the size of the growth of trade cooperation between China and Qatar in 2016 but he said “the level of cooperation is increasing.”
“Chinese and Qatari companies have forged long-term contracts, and there is cooperation for many years between our countries and we hope to expand them in the coming years. I am sure that the economic cooperation will progress in the future,” he said.
Speaking to Gulf Times earlier, Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani stressed on the “big impact” of the ‘Made in China’ exhibition on Qatar-China trade relations.
He said organisers are hoping to surpass the QR45mn worth of trade transactions signed during the exhibition’s inaugural edition held in Doha last year.
Speaking at the ‘GCC-Chinese Economy Trade & Investment Meeting’ held on the sidelines of the exhibition, Sheikh Khalifa said over the past few years, Qatar and China “have significantly developed their economic relations and have strengthened their cooperation at all levels.”
“The exhibition is a clear evidence of the strong relationship between Qatar and China, which would create more mutual collaboration and successful trade transactions between businessmen of the two countries,” he added.
The Chinese ambassador also noted that the number of Chinese companies that participated in ‘Made in China’ 2016 had doubled compared to the 100 firms in attendance last year.
“This shows the importance of the Qatari market to China, and the depth of the relations between both countries,” he emphasised.
Sheikh Khalifa and Li Chen: Seeking to expand areas of cooperation. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed