HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari said on Thursday trade volume between Qatar and European Union members reached $7bn in the first nine months of 2020, representing 12.3% of Qatar's total trade with the world.
The minister was speaking during a teleconference meeting held with ambassadors and representatives of EU countries, in the presence of the Director of European Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Salem Abdullah al-Jaber and representatives from the World Trade Organisation.
Al-Kuwari highlighted the strength of the ties between the Qatar and the EU, noting the growth in trade ties despite the economic implications of the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19). He said the EU managed to maintain its status as a strategic trade partner of Qatar, given it is the second biggest trade partner for the country.
The EU countries are also the second source of Qatari imports, which amounted to about 23.2% of total imports during the same period.
Al-Kuwari pointed that Qatar signed a number of important commercial and economic agreements with EU members.
The two sides have signed 14 commercial, economic and technical co-operation agreements, and 12 agreements to encourage and protect mutual investments. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry also chairs eight joint committees with a number of European countries.
He noted that Qatar has 50,000 residents from the EU, with 95% working on high-skills jobs.
There are also three commercial attaches in Geneva, London, and Paris, with more expected to follow in other EU countries.
Al-Kuwari said Qatar has invested $71.2bn in Europe, with $31bn of these invested in EU members.
He also noted that the number of European companies operating in Qatar has reached 2129, with 307 of them 100% owned by the European side.
The minister said Qatar reacted quickly to the contain the impact the coronavirus pandemic had on supply chains worldwide by supporting the private sector and ensuring the functioning of the financial system.
Al-Kuwari praised the measures taken by Qatar to support the economy, including the QR75bn economic package to support the private sector.
He also reiterated Qatar's commitment to enhancing international co-operation to ensure trade remains an engine for economic recovery.
The country also increased its efforts in improving its logistics capabilities by relying on modern infrastructure to enhance its commercial and investment role regionally and internationally.
Al-Kuwari also stressed that Qatar shares the EU's view in the importance of maintaining a multilateral trading system.
The meeting also reviewed bilateral relations between Qatar and the EU, and means of expanding co-operation in the fields of joint interest.