France has recorded a surge in its exports to Qatar in the first nine months of 2018, a 140% growth compared to same period last year, according to French ambassador Franck Gellet.
With Qatar Airways as one of its major clients, the ambassador said Airbus aircraft sales spearhead France’s exports to Qatar. Other exports include pharmaceutical products, which saw a more than 110% growth in 2018 over the same period last year, as well as chemical products and perfumes (12%), and metal products (360%).
For the past years, Gellet said Qatar-France trade volume “has been systematically close to QR12bn or €3bn.” However, with the current volume significantly breaching the QR12bn mark, the ambassador pointed out that “2018 is on track for breaking a record.”
Citing official Qatari figures, Gellet underscored the importance of Qatari investments in France, saying FDI from Qatar has now exceeded QR72.8bn or €18bn, “which reflects France’s call to Qatari public and private investors.”
“They include participations in some of the biggest French companies (AccorHotels, Total, Engie, and Vinci, among others), real estate assets, and investments in fast-growing SMEs and start-ups, for the latter ones mostly through our joint investment fund – ‘Future French Champions’ created in 2013,” Gellet told Gulf Times in an interview.
According to Gellet, French investments in Qatar “have also been on the rise,” reflecting the “dynamism” and the “level of commitment” of French companies operating in Qatar, “some of which for decades.”
“As many as 200 French companies are working alongside public and private stakeholders on key projects in oil and gas, electricity and water, transport, urban development, and other fields, assisting Qatar in achieving its goals, enshrined in the Qatar Vision 2030,” Gellet stressed.
“French companies operating in Qatar are committed to excellence in business.
The key success is their high-quality project performance. Their projects deliver a high expected value on time and within budget, in line with the motto ‘Qatar deserves the best’.
“They are, as well, keen on making long-term commitments, hiring and training local talents, and investing in research and development here in Qatar,” the ambassador continued.
Asked about recent reforms implemented in the country such as the recent Amiri decree allowing 100% foreign ownership and its role in attracting international companies to Qatar, Gellet said the decree will entice more French firms to Qatar.
“French companies have know-how in various sectors such as agro-food, health, Information and Communication Technologies, logistics, transport, and aeronautics –all sectors in which Qatar intents to expand her own capacities. This decree should therefore encourage French FDI inflows to Qatar,” Gellet emphasised.