Qatar is seen as a key destination for doing business for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large corporations in the US, according to Martin Breidsprecher, the chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Speaking at a virtual discussion titled ‘Business Synergies and Opportunities Between Southern California Companies and Qatar’, Breidsprecher said: “There are many shared areas of interest among Southern Californian companies and those of Qatar.”

“For companies in the Los Angeles area looking to expand to new markets or gain a foothold in the wider region, Qatar offers a business-friendly environment for SMEs and large corporations alike,” he stressed during the event, which was hosted by the US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC), the Commercial Attaché Office in the US for the State of Qatar, and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Major American multinationals from Microsoft to Raytheon to Boeing have chosen Qatar as the “go-to place of business” in the Middle East for its location, economic benefits, and infrastructural support that helps businesses get up and running quickly in a new market, it was stressed during the event.

During the virtual discussion, Breidsprecher was joined by the following speakers: Mohamed Barakat, managing director of USQBC; Antonio Villaraigosa, the 41st mayor of Los Angeles; Fahad al-Dosari, Commercial Attaché in the US for the State of Qatar; and Peter McPartlin, executive vice president, Strategic Planning and Business Operations, Paramount Pictures.

Villaraigosa said, “Los Angeles area companies and Qatar have shared a long-lasting lucrative partnership over the years across a diversity of business interests. Many Southern California companies stand to benefit as Qatar continues to enhance its economic incentives and infrastructure to facilitate new investors.”

Qatar and the Los Angeles area share many economic commonalities with one of the major areas of focus being sports and entertainment. In addition to the “more than 500 international sporting events” being held in Qatar over the last 15 years, Qatar is poised to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, and the country’s sports industry is expected to grow to “$20bn” in the coming years.

Qatar is also an increasingly large investor in the US having pledged “$45bn” in investment over the coming years. One of Qatar Investment Authority’s (QIA) key investments was in Miramax Films, which is now jointly owned by Doha-based beIN Media Group and ViacomCBS, the parent company of Paramount Pictures.

“We were very pleased to acquire our stake in Miramax last year, along with distribution and first look agreements relating to its film library and IP. Our dealings with Doha-based beIN Media Group went very well, and we were impressed with the sophistication of beIN and its representatives,” said McPartlin.

Los Angeles area companies also have synergies with Qatar in many other areas, including aerospace, biomedical and medical technology, construction, design and engineering, entertainment and tourism, and finance.