Qatar’s GDP grows to $225bn in 2018; foreign trade jumps 19% to reach $116bn: Al-Kuwari
June 15 2019 08:35 PM
HE al-Kuwari at a roundtable organised by the US Chamber of Commerce and the US-Qatar Business Counc
HE al-Kuwari (centre) at a roundtable organised by the US Chamber of Commerce and the US-Qatar Business Council on the sidelines of the ‘SelectUSA 2019 Investment Summit’ held in Washington recently.

Over the last five years, Qatari-US bilateral trade reached $26.7bn, and 84.5% of the trade balance, the equivalent of $22.6bn, is in favour of the US.
Qatar’s GDP grew to $225bn in 2018, said HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari, who noted that the annual real GDP growth rate at constant prices reached 1.4% in 2018, which is a “better-than-expected” rate.
He was speaking at a roundtable organised by the US Chamber of Commerce and the US-Qatar Business Council on the sidelines of the ‘SelectUSA 2019 Investment Summit’ held in Washington recently. 
Quoting the World Bank, the minister said the Qatari economy is expected to grow at 2.7% in 2019 and 3% in 2020, partly driven by Qatar’s success in attracting foreign direct investments.
Qatar's foreign trade saw remarkable growth in 2018 with total trade increasing by 19% to reach $116bn.


HE al-Kuwari with Secretary Ross in Washington, DC

Qatar’s total exports also increased by 25% to reach $84bn in 2018, resulting in a 40% increase in trade surplus, which reached $53bn in 2018.
Al-Kuwari said international trade and investment form a key part of Qatar’s future growth and diversification, noting that the US is one of Qatar’s strategic and largest global partners.
Over the last five years, Qatari-US bilateral trade reached $26.7bn, and 84.5% of the trade balance, the equivalent of $22.6bn, is in favour of the US.
US is also Qatar’s first destination for imports, accounting for 19.43% of Qatar’s imports in 2018. 
As many as 753 American companies are currently operating in Qatar, including 118 companies that are fully owned by US citizens, while 63 firms are operating under the umbrella of the Qatar Financial Centre.
Over 15,000 American citizens are also living in Qatar, including 5,000 high skilled individuals that are currently employed by the private sector, he said.
Al-Kuwari said Qatar is “emerging stronger and more independent” than ever before with an economy that is now more accessible to the world.
Qatar has successfully established direct commercial routes with a number of strategic hubs and major economies around the world. Trade has been diverted to major trading partners.
Qatar’s solid economic growth also played a key role in the development of the country’s infrastructure and the establishment of a very successful aircraft fleet, operated by Qatar Airways, one of the world’s leading 5-star airlines.
In parallel, Qatar utilised its high-standard facilities and hi-tech logistics to mobilise regional agreements with Kuwait, Iraq, Oman, Turkey, Pakistan, India, Azerbaijan and the central Asia.
Qatar is expanding its trade activities through a sea fleet that connects the country with its major trading partners in the world to target a market of 400mn people in its first stage.
As a result, the Qatari economy continued its positive performance during the past couple of years, driven by the wise policies adopted by the State to stimulate all sectors of the economy and achieve increased productivity, which reflected positively on economic growth, al-Kuwari said. 
These positive indicators reflect Qatar’s economic competitiveness and position the country as a “highly attractive destination” for US investments.
The minister also invited investors to tap the myriad of opportunities that Qatar offers to establish investment projects in the country.
On the sidelines of the summit, al-Kuwari held separate meetings with Wilbur Ross, US Secretary of Commerce; Thomas J Donohue, president and CEO, US Chamber of Commerce; Daniel Mullaney, Assistant US Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East; Larry Hogan, Maryland Governor; ambassador Anne Patterson, president, Qatar-US Business Council; Mike DeWine, Ohio Governor; Larry Kudlow, director, United States National Economic Council (NEC), and Matt Bevin, Kentucky Governor.
Discussions touched on the promotion of bilateral relations and the development of joint co-operation, particularly in the fields of trade, investment and industry in light of the friendly ties and strategic interests that Qatar and US share.
The meetings focused on the latest developments that the Qatari economy witnessed over the past years and investment opportunities across various sectors in addition to the incentives that Qatar is offering across various sectors. 
These include legislation such as the law regulating the investment of non-Qatari capital in economic activity and initiatives to support the private sector, attract Foreign Direct Investment and encourage US companies to invest in Qatar.
Discussions also touched on the development of mechanisms aimed at supporting joint investments and encouraging the private sector to establish innovative investment projects in key sectors that would serve the economic aspirations of both countries.
Through its participation in the summit, Qatar seeks to strengthen its bilateral relations with the US and highlight its friendly investment environment and the opportunities offered by the State across various promising sectors. 
Qatar highlighted key legislations adopted by the state such as the law regulating the investment of non-Qatari capital in economic activity and the various initiatives aimed at supporting the private sector in addition to the incentives, advantages and services offered to investors to attract more foreign direct investments and bolster Qatar’s competitiveness on the regional and global levels.
The SelectUSA Summit is the leading event promoting FDI in the US, bringing together senior government officials, business executives, private sector representatives and policy makers.



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