HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry voices hope to hold the next session of the Qatari-German Joint Commission in Doha in 2021

HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari has said Qatari-German trade ties have gained considerable momentum in recent times, with bilateral trade exceeding $2.31bn in 2019, ranking Germany as Qatar’s 11th largest trade partner.

Some 332 German companies are currently operating in Qatar, including 270 Qatari-German companies, 46 fully owned German companies, and two German representative offices, in addition to 14 companies licenced under the umbrella of Qatar Financial Centre.

Al-Kuwari was participating in a webinar on Qatar’s business and investment environment, organised by Qatar's embassy in Berlin in co-operation with the German Near and Middle East Association (NUMOV).

The minister said these companies are contributing to the implementation of several major projects in the infrastructure sector such as Qatar Rail, as well as the development of key stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, in addition to other vital ventures in various fields.

Qatar has made significant investments in a range of German industries, especially following the historic visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to Germany in September 2018, during which His Highness the Amir announced Qatar’s intention to invest €10bn into the German economy over the five years up to 2023.

Al-Kuwari highlighted the importance of the webinar, which provides a platform for dialogue between the Qatari and German private sectors, for SMEs and entrepreneurs to discuss opportunities to cooperate in areas that will contribute to strengthening economic and commercial ties between the two nations.

The minister congratulated both Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani for his appointment as Qatar’s ambassador to Germany, and Dr Claudius Fischbach for his appointment as Germany’s ambassador to Qatar.

Al-Kuwari said the meeting presented another opportunity to build on what both sides achieved during the Qatari-German Joint Commission on Trade, Economic and Technical Cooperation, expressing his aspiration to hold the next session of the Joint Commission in Doha in 2021.

He referred to the directives of His Highness the Amir to support and provide financial and economic incentives in the form of a QR75bn incentive package to the private sector, in addition to QDB's initiative to launch the National Guarantee Programme, which aims at helping private sector companies overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.

He shed light on the stimulating investment environment in Qatar, and the new laws and regulations governing the business environment. In particular, he highlighted the law on regulating the partnership between the public and private sectors, which aims to enhance economic diversification and further the private sector’s contribution to national development.

For his part, Mohamed Jaham al-Kuwari, former ambassador to Germany, praised the close partnership between the two countries, which covers a wide range of political, cultural and particularly economic areas.

The webinar included a panel discussion entitled ‘Invest in Qatar’.

Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa, Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida and Sheikh Ali Alwaleed al-Thani participated in the session.

The discussion shed light on the investment opportunities available in Qatar, as well as the facilities provided by the state to foreign investors, including small and medium companies and other foreign firms.

For his part, QDB’s CEO Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa thanked the event organisers for opening new doors for collaboration between Qatari and German companies and institutions, which he said is a testimony to the continuous efforts of the Qatari-German Joint Economic Commission in advancing the two countries’ economic agendas.

Al-Khalifa pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic has acted as a warning to create a more resilient infrastructure and business ecosystem. He added that, since the outbreak, QDB has launched several initiatives within the framework of a trilateral strategy to help SMEs survive the pandemic, revive their businesses amid ongoing challenges, and ultimately thrive in the new economy. These initiatives include releasing the Covid-19 ‘survival’ guidebook and the Revive guidebook, which acts as a complete reference for entrepreneurs who want to reinvigorate their businesses in the post-recovery phase.

The CEO of the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida said, “Qatar has been at the forefront in maintaining its thriving economy and strengthening its lucrative investment eco-system, which are integral factors for attracting German investments into the Qatari Market. Although the Covid-19 pandemic confronted Qatar, and the rest of the world, with many challenges, it has however created new avenues of investment in Qatar, which is offering a diversified multitude of business opportunities.”

Al-Jaida added: “Backed by our host of premium benefits and incentives, the QFC proudly pursues its role as a core enabler for German firms to access Qatar’s lucrative market and establish their business through a seamless unique journey. The QFC platform, one of the world’s leading and fastest-growing onshore business and financial centres, is currently home to 14 German firms, and we look forward to welcoming more very soon.”

The Investment Promotion Agency of Qatar's CEO Sheikh Ali Alwaleed al-Thani said: "As businesses continue to transform for the new economy, many investment opportunities are emerging across sectors, and we see plenty of prospects for German-Qatari collaboration as we move towards a digital economy, where business, communication, and consumer experiences are re-imagined. This includes areas such as fintech, e-health, e-learning, virtual entertainment, and many others. Backed by the country’s resilient economy, forward-looking vision, and strategic national initiatives, the Invest Qatar ecosystem is now more prepared than ever to support existing investors and welcome new international partners to Qatar."

The conference was attended on the German side by Thomas Bareiß, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy & Co-Chairman of the Qatari-German Joint Commission on Trade, Economic and Technical Cooperation; Dr Fischbach and Niko Warbanoff, member, Board of NUMOV and chairman of the Board of DB Engineering & Consulting GmbH.