His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani is on a two-day visit to the Federal Republic of Germany to attend the 9th Qatar Germany Business and Investment Forum. Accompanying His Highness the Amir is a high-ranked Qatari delegation, tasked with the aim of further enhancing the political and economic relations between the two countries.
This is the second visit of the Amir to Germany this year, after the February 2018 speech he gave at the opening session of the 54th Munich Security Conference. At the peak of the Gulf crisis back in December of 2017, the Amir visited Germany for talks with Chancellor Angel Merkel. His Highness the Amir also visited Germany in September of the same year.
The visits paid by the leaders of both countries are one characteristic of decades of unique relations that have managed to bring the two nations closer, establishing a solid ground of strategic partnership and mutual trust that have helped deliver positive returns for both.
The economic forum visit comes as both countries celebrate their more than 60 years of commercial relations and 43 years of diplomatic ties. During these years, both Doha and Berlin worked closely to enhance the scope of their strategic relations.
Meanwhile, expectations from the current 9th business forum are high as huge investments amounting to billions of euros are expected be announced during it. Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and key private sector players would be eyeing German manufacturing companies for partnerships.
As of this year, more than 300 German companies are doing businesses in Qatar. Many of those companies are already engaged in projects designed to develop the infrastructure of Qatar. Siemens, for example, played an active role in the expansion of the Qatar’s power transmission network. Qatar Rail has also enjoyed and gained a lot from the robust services the German rail operator Deutsche Bahn International has provided.
On the other hand, Qatar’s investments in Germany exceed 25bn euros in sectors such as automobiles, information technology and banking. Qatar has stakes in German giants like Volkswagen, Porsche, Siemens, SolarWorld, and Deutsche Bank. Well, Qatar has enough capital to invest in even more sectors in Germany, especially given the favourable stance Germany has towards Qatar as has been clearly shown on multiple occasions including the one concerning Volkswagen's common shares.
As for political relations, both countries enjoy a shared vision towards reaching peaceful solutions in disputes among countries. In times of crises, both countries are always prompt in providing relief assistance. Both countries, too, attach great, special and serious attention to human rights. Qatar and Germany are always keen on positively investing, developing, and respecting relations with their allies as we have seen in the Gulf crisis, for example.
The Gulf crisis that was triggered in June 2017 showed how allies could act in capricious ways. The crisis began when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt imposed a land, air, and sea blockade on Qatar. The arrogant miscalculations of the quartet deceptively trapped them into believing that Doha would quickly give in within a few days, as indicated in several intelligence reports. Still during this crisis, Germany tried hard to defuse the alarming tension between the Saudi-UAE bloc and Qatar, warning against any attempt to escalate the situation.
During the crisis too, regional and international players were eyeing the many positive statements issued by Berlin, espousing the need to contain the volatile situation. Such a positive stance adopted by the Superpower Germany tells of how much subtle and skillful Berlin’s diplomacy is when it comes to dealing with crises.
Qatar and German relations far exceed the realms of economic and political cooperation. Both countries have so far brilliantly succeeded in building firm and fixed cultural and communication bridges to push, support and promote cultural understanding and engagement between the two nations. Just last year, Qatar opened its first cultural centre outside the country in Germany. HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani opened the Arab Cultural House "Al Diwan" in the German capital, in a move that further promotes cultural appreciation and recognition between the two countries.
The two countries have been yearly celebrating Qatar-Germany Year of Culture for six years now, after it was first launched in 2012 under the guidance of Qatar Museums’ Chairperson, HE Sheikha al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
The rich history of relations between Qatar and Germany is based on mutual trust, interest and benefits, and this is what characterises the great friendship between them. As a world superpower, Germany knows how long-term political and economic stability are maintained by building and nurturing relations with key allies like Qatar.