Opening of USQBC Doha office to further bolster US-Qatar ties
December 16 2019 08:41 PM
Barakat: The new office will help advance USQBC strategic goals. PICTURE: Nasar K Moidheen
Barakat: The new office will help advance USQBC strategic goals. PICTURE: Nasar K Moidheen

The opening of the US-Qatar Business Council’s (USQBC) Doha office on Monday is seen to further strengthen economic ties between Qatar and the US, as well as private sector relations of both countries, according to USQBC official.

“The new office will help advance our strategic goals in helping the Qatari business community in understanding what we can do to advance the commercial and investment relationship of both countries,” USQBC managing director Mohamed Barakat told Gulf Times.

Asked about the role of the office, Barakat said the council has been receiving a lot of inquiries from the Qatari business community about ways to export and invest more in the US. They are also interested in learning the regulatory changes in the US and the differences on the federal and the state level, he also said.

“As much as you can fulfil this from our office in Washington, DC, it is still different when you have somebody on the ground that is always meeting and listening with these businesses and advancing their interests.

“It will also serve the American business community and their businesses because having people in Qatar can directly link their interests to this country by providing them with the information and connection that they need, and assisting the trade missions when they arrive from the US,” Barakat pointed out.

Barakat also said the Qatari government’s announcement of the legal reforms and new laws, particularly in labour, foreign ownership, permanent residency, and the free zones “was well-received by the US business community.”

“Many US companies and members of the business community have lauded Qatar for taking swift action in implementing these new laws and reforms. But at the same time, we received a lot of questions as to how these changes would affect the dynamics of doing business in Qatar,” he noted.

On the recently-held Doha Forum 2019, Barakat said many USQBC board members represented a lot of US companies and participated at the forum.

“Our role here is to advance the interests of the US-Qatar private sector, maintain communication, and carry the message on the US-Qatar relationship. Part of our participation at the forum is working to advance the interests of the business community both in Qatar and the US; the forum always addresses critical issues when it comes to the economy and international trade, among others, as well as discussions of different topics,” he said.

He added, “Beyond the Doha Forum, a lot of our board members are scheduled to attend several meetings here with several ministries, including the Finance, Energy Affairs, and the Commerce and Industry, as well as entities like the Qatar Financial Centre, Qatar Petroleum, and other co-ordinating entities that we work with in Qatar.

“The inauguration of the USQBC office in Doha was attended by representatives of the Qatar business community and the government sector, as well as other CEOs, dignitaries, and VIPs.”

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