US companies see Qatar as gateway to Middle East, Gulf region
December 30 2019 09:14 PM
USQBC managing director Mohamed Barakat with USQBC president, Ambassador Anne Patterson, and US emba
USQBC managing director Mohamed Barakat with USQBC president, Ambassador Anne Patterson, and US embassy Chief of Mission in Qatar and Charge d’Affaires William Grant, as well as other dignitaries during the recent opening of the council’s Doha office.

US companies keen on investing in the Qatari market are also looking beyond Doha, which is being eyed as a gateway to other markets in the Middle East and Gulf region, an official of the US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC) has said.
The council’s managing director, Mohamed Barakat, pointed out that with the recent opening of the USQBC’s office in Doha, the council would be able to provide US companies with more information about the investment climate of Qatar and its neighbours.
Earlier, Barakat said the USQBC has been flooded with inquiries from American firms keen on doing business in the Gulf, particularly in the Qatar, which, according to the government and major players in the private sector, “is ready for the influx of more foreign direct investments.”
Last month, the USQBC hosted a high-level Qatari delegation comprised of representatives from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Qatar Financial Centre, and other critical entities in Qatar's government. The visiting delegation was in Washington for meetings focused on enhancing the business environment.
“People were hungry for that kind of information based on the engagement from the audience, who clarified what the recently-announced new laws mean. The plan is that with the council’s partnerships with the Qatar commercial attaché in Washington DC, and the planned 2020 Roadshow in the US, we would be able to send and provide more information to the business community and explain it more. The Investment Promotion Agency Qatar has a very great plan of explaining these incentives,” Barakat told Gulf Times in an interview.
Conversely, Barakat stressed that the council is not only working to promote the Qatari market to American firms, but it is also helping investors here understand ways of doing business in the US market.
“Learning about Qatar’s investment climate is very helpful for US companies, but at the same time, it’s not just on the export side or investing in the states, but there are also a lot of incentives for Qatari companies importing from the US, so we’re helping them understand the export programmes in the US and utilising state or federal level programmes to increase and enhance trade with the United States,” Barakat explained.
Aside from bridging the gap between Qatari companies with the large, major US corporations, the USQBC would also like to engage them with the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) “because there are a lot of synergies to be made between them,” Barakat noted.
“On entrepreneurship, the US has a very dynamic startup ecosystem. Similarly, Qatar is also active in this sector in terms of incubation and development funds, among other initiatives that aim to help startups. So, part of the council’s mandate is to determine how we could enhance that synergy, which would be one of the focus areas of our newly-launched USQBC office in Doha,” Barakat emphasised.

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