Posted on May 03, 2019

Minister of Commerce and Industry H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari said that Qatar was keen to strengthen cooperation among Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) member countries. The Minister stressed Qatar's readiness to become a networking hub that brings together ACD member states to promote economic integration among Asian countries.

Delivering his remarks at the opening of ACD Business Forum held under the theme “SME as the New Engine of Sustainable Economic Prosperity,” the Minister said that the ACD has gained significant momentum since its establishment in 2002. He noted that the organisation currently represents over 34 Asian countries home to 4.4 billion people, accounting for 60 percent of the world’s population. The Minister said Qatar is ready to become a networking hub among member states and to establish the Union of ACD Chambers, noting that he looks forward to assess this initiative during this meeting, which will support joint action and contribute to the achievement of economic integration among Asian countries.

The Minister reiterated that Qatar was one of the founding members of ACD and holds strong strategic partnerships with the member countries. He also said Qatar’s trade volume with Asian countries in 2018 reached $81bn which was equivalent to 70 percent of the country’s foreign trade. He added that Qatar’s growing trade activity was a result of economic openness and diversity in line with the country’s National Vision 2030. The Minister also highlighted Qatar’s investment in the private sector and added that the government has expedited all measures to support the private sector. This includes upgrading regulatory frameworks in the investment sector such as the provision of real estate ownership to non-Qataris as well as the opening of free investment zones where foreigners can export their products.

Al Kuwari reiterated that Qatar is open to local and foreign companies to invest in the country’s large scale World Cup-related projects and other investment opportunities in food security, health, education, and tourism.  The Minister added that companies investing in Qatar can also take advantage of Qatar Airways’ fleet of over 250 airplanes which reach over 160 destinations. The Minister of Commerce and Industry, H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, highlighted that Hamad Port, which has an annual capacity of 7.5m twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), is one of the largest ports in the Middle East which bridges Qatar to the world’s leading economies through direct trade lines and supports Qatar’s status as a transit and launching point for more than 40 ports across the world.

Also speaking during the event, Qatar Chamber’s First Vice-Chairman Mohamed bin Ahmed bin Towar Al Kuwari stressed on the importance of SMEs to national economy and added that Qatar was keen to support joint actions with ACD countries to enhance business activities in the region. Further, he encouraged investors to participate in the development of Asian countries. ACD Secretary General Bundit Limschoon also said that empowering SMEs will be the basis for sustainable prosperity in Asia, with SMEs accounting for more than 89 percent of all enterprises in the region.

Limschoon also spoke about the need to enhance intellectual and human capital while boosting SMEs to eradicate poverty in Asia, which has a market size of 4.4 billion people which accounts for 60 percent of the world’s population.

source: The Peninsula