His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thanis visit to the Federal Republic of Germany is of great importance in terms of strengthening economic co-operation relations and exploring new areas of co-operation and trade and investment partnerships between the two countries. The Qatari-German economic relations have witnessed a steady growth during the past six decades; thus, Qatar became an important economic partner for Germany in the region, with the increase in the volume of trade and the growth of investment activities in several sectors, which strengthened bridges of mutual co-operation and opened a window for new opportunities of partnership. The two countries are bound by a number of economic agreements and MoU, including an agreement to protect and encourage mutual investments and others in the industrial and commercial fields, civil aviation and air transport, as well as an agreement to establish the Qatari-German Joint Commission on Economic, Trade and Technical Co-operation, which organised many courses over the past years. The Qatari-German Joint Commission on Economic, Trade and Technical Co-operation has been supporting co-operation, emphasising the strategic partnership between the two countries, and expanding bilateral relations and strengthening them through establishing long-term partnerships, as well as welcoming any initiatives taken by the private sectors of both countries to establish mechanisms aimed at deepening bilateral economic relations, while stressing the importance of bilateral investments and the role they play in achieving economic development. The Commission contributed significantly in consolidating trade and investment co-operation between the two countries, with the aim of increasing the volume of trade, and facilitating the flow of goods, services and investments between the two countries. Over the past ten years, Qatar and Germany turned to increase the pace of meetings at various levels, develop co-operation channels to explore projects and opportunities for trade co-operation and investment in important vital sectors, as well as activate the role of the private sector in the two countries. The 2018 Qatar-Germany Business and Investment Forum in Berlin was an important milestone in this context. HE the Chairman of Qatar Chamber Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani said, in a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA), that visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to the Federal Republic of Germany will expand opportunities and open doors for further co-operation in the commercial and economic fields, which will positively affect the business sectors in the two countries. He said that the trade relations between the two countries have witnessed a great development in recent years, as Germany is an important trading partner for the State of Qatar. The trade exchange between the two countries achieved a 75% growth in 2021 despite the Covid-19 pandemic and its repercussions on the global trade movement, as the volume of trade amounted to about QR11.2bn last year, compared to QR6.4bn in the year 2020. On the investment front, he said that the Qatari market is attractive for German companies, adding that there are many opportunities in various economic sectors, especially with regard to industries that depend on advanced technology. He pointed to the presence of around 300 German companies currently operating in the Qatari market in various sectors such as trade, contracting services, shipping, medical equipment and devices and others, in addition to the participation of German companies in infrastructure projects as well as in World Cup projects. At the same time, Germany is a major destination for Qatari investments in the European continent, with the States investments amounting to about €25bn, which includes the automotive industry, telecommunications, hospitality, banking and other important sectors. Qatar owns stakes in the most important German commercial and banking groups, as it is the largest shareholder in the Volkswagen Group, with a stake of $9bn, as well as in Siemens and other German companies working in the field of technology, shipping and the pharmaceutical industry. Volkswagen Group is one of the largest car manufacturers in the world. The German automaker owns a whole host of brands, some of which are familiar names, while others are lesser known. The Volkswagen Group is based in Wolfsburg, Germany, but many of its brands focus their operations elsewhere. The Volkswagen Group is best known for making passenger cars, but it also owns the heavy-duty truck brands MAN and Scania, the latter of which was part of the company that also made Saab cars, in addition to Ducati motorcycles, which Audi owns via Lamborghini. In the same context, Qatar owns a 21% stake in Siemens, a company that specialises in engineering, electronics and medical electrical devices. It was founded in 1847 as an electrical engineering company that produced the electric telegraph. During the 20th and early 21st centuries, Siemens acquired and merged with many other companies to increase its capabilities and expand its specialisations in the various sectors it is operating in today, including industry, energy, healthcare, and infrastructure. Managing Director of Siemens Energy WLL Qatar Herbert Klausner said, in an exclusive statement to QNA, that Siemens Energy has been dealing with the State of Qatar for 50 years, adding that the two sides have worked together on many major projects such as new infrastructure projects in the country, and other miscellaneous projects. Klausner stressed the importance of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thanis visit to Germany, stating that he expects several talks on energy given the great importance that this issue has acquired recently, in addition to discussing the distinguished economic and political relations between the two countries. He explained that he sensed a great Qatari desire to modernise, develop and own technology in order to move forward, adding that at Siemens, they are proud of this permanent and fruitful co-operation for both sides in many fields, and they have always contributed to projects related to oil, gas and power stations. Siemens Energy has 160 workers in Qatar who provide services on a permanent basis. Regarding, Qatari investment in the company, the Managing Director of Siemens Energy Qatar explained that the company exploits any investment in order to develop performance, research, work and develop the market itself, so that the company can provide its services well to all its customers. He said that Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) does not deal with Siemens Energy only, but with many German companies due to the Qatari desire to move towards technology in many fields, stressing the existence of great integration between the two countries. The State of Qatar possesses the gas that Germany needs, and Berlin is co-operating with Qatar in all new technological matters, he noted. QIAs investments are not limited to companies operating in the industrial and technology sector. It is also involved in the shipping sector by investing in Hapag-Lloyd, one of the largest shipping companies in the world. CEO of Hapag-Lloyd AG Rolf Habben Jansen said that the companys dealings with Qatar began in 2016 through an investment co-operation that contributed to the development of the companys work in the field of shipping. Jansen added, in an exclusive statement to QNA, that his company is currently ranked 5th in the world, and as a container line, it operates about 250 ships through more than 100 services around the world. It transports around 12mn twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) annually. It has offices in 130 countries and employ around 14,000-15,000 people. Twenty-foot equivalent is a standard unit of containers, used to measure the amount of freight usually carried in containers on container ships or transport trucks. CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Rolf Habben Jansen expressed his belief that the State of Qatar is doing well in the field of investment, pointing out that co-operation with Qatar was one of the most successful investments, and that the country has a good vision to invest and work as a team. He extended his thanks to the State of Qatar for its support and partnership during the past six years, expressing his companys hope for continued partnership for many years to come. Qatar owns a stake in Hochtief, which is a German construction company based in Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and is considered Germanys largest construction company and operates globally. Hochtief ranks as one of the largest general construction companies in the United States through its Turner subsidiary, and in Australia through a 90% shareholding in CIMIC Group. In another aspect of economic co-operation between Germany and Qatar, Analyst and Consultant on Energy and International Affairs Dr Thomas W ODonnell affirmed that energy will be at the top of the agenda during the visit of His Highness the Amir to Germany, indicating Germanys aspiration to search for new gas supplies. In an exclusive interview with QNA, ODonnell added that Germany has recently realised the need to diversify natural gas sources, and is currently building 4 gas storage stations, which will certainly help in achieving stronger relations with the State of Qatar in the field of energy, especially in importing Qatari gas at present or in the near future. ODonnell expected the success of the State of Qatars plans in increasing liquefied natural gas (LNG) production in Al Shamal field, which the country has recently announced, adding that this increase will generate encouragement for many countries, including Germany, which aspires to obtain a share of the new production. It may take years, but Germany will certainly not miss this opportunity and will work to diversify its sources of gas, to avoid solely relying on Russian gas, he added. This development and integration in the economic relations between the State of Qatar and Germany, as well as their growth over the past few years and their expansion in several sectors undoubtedly reflect the depth and strength of the Qatari-German relations, which leads to further co-operation and integration, leading - in turn - to the consolidation of the partnership that enhances the aspirations of development between the two countries.