The US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC) recently organised a business visit to Los Angeles, California to engage with key policymakers and the local business community to expand and enhance economic partnerships between Qatar and the Los Angeles Area economic community.
The business visit featured the following representatives: Mansoor al-Sulaitin, Consul General of State of Qatar in Los Angeles; Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles; Rep Lou Correa (CA-46); Fahad al-Dosari, the State of Qatar Commercial Attaché to the US; Mohamed Barakat, USQBC managing director and treasurer of the board of directors; Maria S Salinas, president and CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; and Peter McPartlin, Paramount Pictures EVP for Strategic Planning and Business Operations.
The business visit kicked-off with a virtual meeting between Barakat, al-Dosari, and Correa (CA-46). Participants discussed the importance of the relationship between Qatar and the metropolitan area of Los Angeles and ways to enhance future business and investment ties.
During a business seminar hosted at the Sheraton Grand Los Angeles, participants were able to network, learn, and explore business opportunities between California and the State of Qatar. Salinas delivered the welcome remarks for the seminar and welcomed attendees to participate in business discussions.
“International trade is a key component of the Los Angeles regional economy and the chamber believes all organisations should have an opportunity to participate in the global marketplace,” Salinas stressed.
In his opening remarks, al-Sulaitin said: “Qatar is eager to build upon our flourishing commercial and investment partnerships with California. Both California and Qatar are consistently ranked as some of the best places in the world to do business in.
“Over the next few years, and with 2022 FIFA World Cup around the corner, the world’s first carbon-neutral World Cup, we anticipate even greater opportunities to expand our thriving partnership going forward.”
Barakat added: “The Los Angeles Area and Qatar already have a thriving commercial partnership spanning many areas, including construction and engineering, ICT, and financial services. This visit underscores the importance of building upon this success and forging new business and investment ties across a wide variety of industries.”
During the business visit, al-Dosari and Barakat presented Qatar’s attractive economic environment and the strength of the US-Qatar business relationship.
Al-Dosari said, “The State of Qatar is committed to expanding the economic partnership with California by promoting Qatar’s commercial environment across a diverse range of industries, including IT and software, hospitality, entertainment and tourism, financial services, and life sciences.
“This visit demonstrates the commitment Qatar has to attracting US companies to consider Qatar as a hub for expansion into regional markets while benefiting from Qatar’s robust investment incentives.”
Qatar has a number of investments and connections in California. Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has invested in Califia Farms, Mesosphere, Codak Bioscience, GRAIL, ThoughtSpot, Uber, and SoFi. QIA, in partnership with a hedge fund, has also bought Gigacom and real estate in Los Angeles.
During the course of the business visit, the delegation met with Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles at City Hall. The participants were able to discuss opportunities for commercial investments in both Los Angeles and Qatar.
Qatar’s investments in the US are continually growing with one of the focuses on media industry. One of QIA’s key investments was in Miramax Films, which is now jointly owned by Doha-based beIN Media Group and Paramount Global – parent company of Paramount Pictures.
“We were very pleased to acquire our stake in Miramax, 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,” said McPartlin.
Following the site visit to Paramount Studios, USQBC hosted the delegation at a business reception at SOHO House in West Hollywood, which allowed participants to further expand upon business discussions and opportunities for collaboration.