American companies have a strong footprint in Qatar and are looking to maintain and expand operations and their workforce, the US Chamber of Commerce said in the second edition of its US Business Outlook in Qatar Report.
The chamber recently released the report, “which is intended to serve as a barometer of US business sentiment in the State of Qatar,” according to US Chamber of Commerce senior vice president, Middle East, Turkey, Central Asia Affairs Khush Choksy.
“Our hope is that American and foreign companies, as well as thought leaders from governments, academia, and non-government organisations in the US and across the Middle East will utilise this report to understand the opportunities and issues for businesses in Qatar,” Choksy said.
Choksy noted that the survey participants include small and medium-sized businesses and large multinational corporations working in a variety of sectors, including services, healthcare, digital, infrastructure, energy, and defence among others.
Overall, a full 90% of firms surveyed have active plans to maintain or expand their operations in Qatar. Growth opportunities and diversification of the customer base were selected by up to 75% of respondents as the leading drivers of this expansion, the report continued.
“Many companies also cited the availability of trained personnel as a benefit of expanding in Qatar and 80% of survey respondents expect to maintain or increase their workforce in Qatar. Only one company indicated that it might scale back its investment in Qatar, citing a potential increase in investment costs,” the report stated.
Another key finding gleaned from the report showed that “there are significant economic growth opportunities in all sectors of the Qatari economy.”
The survey participants cited a wide range of sectors in Qatar as having “large growth potential,” “indicating that the overall economic opportunities in Qatar are significant.”
According to the survey, the sectors that US companies viewed as “especially promising” are oil and gas, ICT, finance, healthcare, infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, and logistics.
“Several companies cited the 2022 FIFA World Cup as a key reason for growing operations in Qatar. This is primarily through construction and maintenance of stadiums and other associated infrastructure projects, training and education, marketing, security and risk mitigation, public health, and development of cybersecurity capabilities.
"Additionally, new entities such as the Qatar Free Zones are key factors causing companies to consider increasing their investments in Qatar or moving their operations there,” the report said.
Based on the experiences respondents have had in Qatar, the report stated that more than two thirds believe that American firms are viewed “more favourably than local companies” and “more favourably than non-Western non-local companies.”
"When compared to other Western companies in Qatar, this number falls slightly to 55%, but this still demonstrates the positive perception US companies face in Qatar…US companies are viewed positively in Qatar and can take advantage of this positive perception to expand their partnerships on the ground in the country,” the report said.
On quality of life, the survey showed that “90% of respondents believe their expatriate employees are satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their assignments in Qatar and the overall quality of life in Qatar…quality of life in Qatar is high and an important contributor to corporate expansion in the country.”