The Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) recently led a discussion on global trade resilience and foreign direct investment (FDI) during a digital roundtable co-hosted with The Business Year media group.
The virtual event included some of the world’s leading experts in supply chains and FDI, including representatives from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), World Economic Forum (WEF), and logistics experts DHL, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, and Reybanpac to examine how global trade can adapt to the new realities presented by Covid-19.
HE the Minister of State and QFZA chairman Ahmad bin Mohamed al-Sayed said, “The true impact of these circumstances may not be truly felt for some time to come, but debates that were already underway over how supply chains can be rebalanced have now become urgent.
“Cost-efficiency can no longer be the solitary guiding principle of supply chains, and the world must now make sure that supply chains not only deliver value for money but they are also resilient to future circumstances so the global economy can keep moving.”
For Qatar, this is not a new debate, according to al-Sayed. During the past few years, he said the state managed to rapidly diversify its local and global supply chains to keep its economy connected to the world, while maintaining resilience and diversification.
“QFZA built one the world’s most advanced digital and logistical ecosystems in its free zones. This gives companies investing in the zones, access to a diverse set of physical and digital entry points into global supply chains, either through its advanced telecommunications infrastructure, or the world spanning air and deep sea ports that allow major companies to maintain their leading positions in the global logistics industry.
“The zones also provide flexible and diverse solutions to all companies looking to invest in the State of Qatar, especially the new economy companies. This is in addition to providing the opportunity to partner with leading Qatari companies, such as Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Airways, and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy,” al-Sayed stressed. Speaking on behalf of the Unctad following its recent report on global FDI, Dr Oktawian Kuc, Investment Policy officer of the Division on Investment and Enterprise, said special economic zones remain an “invaluable tool” for policy makers trying to boost FDI inflows.
He also highlighted all the indirect benefits that they bring to economies beyond FDI like economic diversification, the shortening of supply chains and employment creation.
The Business Year CEO Ay?e Valentin said, “[The Business Year] strongly believes that Qatar, thanks to its strategic geographical location and its economic and commercial flexibility, is set to play a vital role.”
Amadou Diallo, DHL’s Middle East and Africa CEO, said: “Qatar free zones have the latest technologies and all required digital and physical infrastructure to optimise our business operations in the zones.”
Vincente Andres Wong, commercial manager of food wholesaler Reybanpac Ecuador, said: “Qatar is an excellent getaway to the entire Middle East and Asia regions for Latin American producers.”
Quentin Descat, head of Marketing & Marketing Operations Middle East for Bayer Pharmaceuticals, said: “Qatar free zones would be well-fitted to host pharmaceutical companies due to the quality of the logistics and technology that would enable the ‘just-in-time’ and ‘just-in-case’ supply chain strategies employed by pharmaceuticals industry.”
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