Qatar has developed strategic partnership with Asia Co-operation Dialogue (ACD) member states, and had a trade volume of $81bn or the equivalent of 70% of the country’s total foreign trade, in 2018, HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari said on Thursday.
"Qatar is ready to become a “networking hub” that brings together ACD member states to promote economic integration among Asian countries," he stated at the opening of ACD Business Forum held under the theme “SME as the new engine of sustainable economic prosperity.”
The minister noted that ACD has gained significant momentum since its establishment in 2002. The organisation currently represents some 34 Asian countries, which are home to 4.4bn people, accounting for 60% of the world's population.
“The natural, human and economic resources of these countries will contribute to the development of a strategic bloc that will cement the position of the Asian continent as a major global economic force,” the minister said.
Al-Kuwari highlighted the “changing geopolitical, economic and trade dynamics” that have affected member countries, and noted that these developments called for increased efforts to promote dialogue and co-ordination among ACD member states in a bid to tackle obstacles that might hinder trade and economic co-operation.
In this context, the minister said “Qatar is ready to become a networking hub among member states and to establish the Union of ACD Chambers.”
Al-Kuwari said he looked forward to assessing this initiative during the meeting, which would support joint action and contribute to the achievement of economic integration among Asian countries.
Chairing this year’s ACD meeting reflects Qatar’s keenness to work hand in hand with the General Secretariat to strengthen partnerships between Asian countries and to bolster bilateral and multilateral co-operation, the minister said.
Al-Kuwari highlighted the “strategic policies that Qatar has adopted to enhance its openness and economic diversification while elaborating on the steps undertaken by the State to attract foreign direct investments and strengthen co-operation with Asian countries.”
The theme of the ACD Business Forum reflected Qatar’s belief in the role that the SME sector played in creating job opportunities for youth and enhancing their entrepreneurial spirit, al-Kuwari said.
The minister called for the establishment of mechanisms to support and encourage SMEs to access financing and tap investment opportunities in markets across ACD member states to develop promising investment projects that serve the shared interests of Asian countries.
The forum was attended by Qatar Chamber vice chairman Mohamed bin Ahmed Towar al-Kuwari, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, ACD secretary general Bundit Limschoon, and Mohsen Salehi Nia, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Industry, Mining and Trade and Managing Director of the Organisation of Small Industries and Industrial Cities, along with a number of officials, experts, investors and businessmen from Qatar and Asian countries.
The forum was held within the framework of the 16th Ministerial Meeting of ACD member states, which concluded yesterday in Doha.
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