The connectivity between Qatar and Hong Kong in areas, such as the Lusail Smart City, fintech networks, potential of e-commerce and startups in Qatar, and the sustainable journey of Doha Bank could strengthen bilateral partnerships of both countries, Doha Bank CEO Dr R Seetharaman has said in a recently-held webinar.
During the webinar, which discussed “Bilateral and Synergistic Opportunities Between Qatar and Hong Kong,” Seetharaman said bilateral trade between both countries stood at $0.94bn in 2019.
He said Hong Kong and Qatar have a double taxation agreement since 2013. In July 2019, both countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on investment promotion and co-operation.
At the same time, Seetharaman said multiple MoUs were signed between Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) authorities, InvestHK and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) and the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA). In terms of tourism, Seetharaman said the number of Qatari visitors to Hong Kong exceeded 3,000 in 2019. Qatar Airways has stake in Cathay Pacific, while the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has stake in HK Electric Investments, he also said.
Seetharaman also discussed opportunities for both countries in various segments, such as issuance of performance bonds, and tender bonds for participation of Hong Kong companies in the infrastructure projects in Qatar.
Similarly, there are opportunities in letters of credit for exports of crude oil and LNG shipments from Qatar to Hong Kong, incoming remittances and payments for imports and exports, and collaboration for global trade under risk participation, Seetharaman said.
The webinar also featured Wenda Ma, assistant principal economist, Hong Kong Trade Development Council, who spoke on “Qatar and Hong Kong: Trade and Investment Relationships and Opportunities,” while Alan Lee, regional director, Business Development-The Executive Centre, spoke on real estate strategies amidst Covid-19.
Seetharaman also highlighted Hong Kong’s economy: “According to the IMF April 2020, Hong Kong economy is expected contract by 4.8% in 2020.
In February 2020, the Hong Kong government announced 120bn Hong Kong dollars ($15.4bn) worth of measures, which include a cash payout of 10,000 Hong Kong dollars to residents age 18 and above, and low-interest loans with government guarantee for small businesses.
“In March 2020, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) lowered its base rate charged through the overnight discount window by 50 basis points to 1.5% after the US Federal Reserve delivered a rate cut of the same margin.”
Doha Bank CEO Dr R Seetharaman along with participants of the webinar.