Qatar’s commitment to its local and international obligations amid an economic blockade has earned the trust of US companies, and has led to an increase in the number of American firms wanting to explore the Qatari market, according to US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC) managing director Mohamed Barakat.
Despite the June 2017 blockade, “Qatar has fulfilled its commitments and contracts” with its international and local partners, “including the blockading countries,” Barakat said.
“That gave US companies more trust and confidence to shake hands with Qatari partners, who they believe will deliver on their promises…in Qatar, it’s all about discussion and agreement…especially with their major partners; they feel that they have a stake in these projects and they want to expand on that,” Barakat told Gulf Times in an interview.
“More US companies had started to look more into the Qatari economy, the stability of its financial market, and its ability to withstand such a major impact like the blockade. And they realised that if an economy could withstand all that pressure, that is the perfect place to work in,” he said.
According to Barakat, US companies also realised that they could fulfil the needs of the Qatari market and that Qatar could be their potential hub to enter other regions by utilising the country’s infrastructure and “strong and stable economy.”
Barakat also noted that US companies’ interest in Qatar grew after the announcement of recent government reforms, such as the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Law and the Free Zones Law, among others.
Qatar’s manufacturing sector is also a point of interest among US companies, 70% of which are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), while 30% are the larger firms that are in the Qatari market, he said.
“Some of our companies are said to be planning on having two sites, one at the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) and to have a local presence in the market because they believe that opens more opportunities for them,” Barakat noted.
Barakat, who also spoke in a panel discussion at the Euromoney Qatar Conference on Sunday, is in Doha with other USQBC members and officials to meet with US firms here and other Qatari officials.
“The objective of the trip is to meet with public and private sector partners in Qatar, such as the QFC and some ministries that the council has partnerships, representations, and MoUs with.
“The council is also meeting with a lot of its member companies both Qatari and US firms to discuss how to further advance their relationship with Qatar in terms of business, trade, and investment,” Barakat added.
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