Qatari SMEs keen on expanding footprint in US, says official
February 02 2021 08:03 PM
USQBC MD Mohamed Barakat.
USQBC MD Mohamed Barakat.

Qatari small and medium-sized enterprises are showing keen interest in expanding their footprint in the United States, according to an official of the US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC).

USQBC managing director Mohamed Barakat said not only “has the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) made investing in the US a priority,” but Qatari SMEs from a wide range of sectors are also eyeing to invest in the US.

“We are seeing growing numbers of Qatari SMEs who have demonstrated interest in expanding in the US. This isn’t just oil and gas related either, these are companies across the spectrum of industry,” Barakat told Gulf Times.

He said, “This means that diverse Qatari companies are maturing and are ready to compete in a competitive market like the US. As a result of this interest, USQBC will soon be releasing several reports about doing business in the US targeted for Qatari businesses and investors, which help inform and guide Qataris as they seek to expand into the US market.

Barakat also said USQBC is also developing a “unique business portal,” which will help both US and Qatari companies connect with one another, in addition to providing important information on trade and investment between the two countries.

Citing a statement from HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, Barakat said Qatar’s investment in the US “remains a priority for the sovereign wealth fund,” particularly in target areas like technology, health, real estate, and agriculture, among others.

“We were very pleased to see the success that QIA has had in previous investments in the US. Most recently, SoFi, a recipient of QIA investment, announced it will be going public and has been valued at $8.6bn,” Barakat pointed out.

According to the second edition of the ‘US Business Outlook in Qatar Report’, which was released by the US Chamber of Commerce in September 2020, “Qatar’s foreign direct investments (FDI) in the US has been steadily growing, increasing over 10% in the last few years.”

The report stated that the US and Qatar signed a trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA) in 2004 to establish a framework for expanding trade between the two and resolve trade disputes. The two governments hold annual bilateral strategic dialogues to help strengthen the overall bilateral relationship.

“Qataris have also entered the US market in growing numbers. US goods imports from Qatar totalled $1.6bn in 2018, an increase of 225% since 2008. Primary imports include mineral fuels, fertilisers, aluminium, and chemicals. The US and Qatar had $6bn in total two-way goods trade in 2018,” the report said.

It added that “Qatar is currently the US’ 57th largest goods trading partner with $6bn in total two-way goods trade during 2018. US exports to Qatar have grown 63% since 2008 and totalled $4.4bn in 2018.”

Exports primarily include aircraft, electrical machinery, machinery, vehicles, and arms and ammunition. Additionally, the US is one of the major equipment suppliers for Qatar’s oil and gas industry, and US companies have played a significant role in the development of the sector, stated the report.


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