Posted on February 01, 2018

Praising the historic ties between Qatar and US, the Minister of Economy and Commerce H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al Thani said US is Qatar’s sixth largest trading partner with a trade volume of $6bn. The Minister was speaking at a reception held by the US Chamber of Commerce in the honour of Qatar’s delegation participating in the Qatari-US Strategic dialogue in Washington. 

Speaking about country’s economy, he said that Qatar’s GDP during 2017 rose up to about $220bn, compared to about $218bn during 2016, reported QNA. He mentioned that the real growth rate of GDP at constant prices reached about 2 percent in 2017. According to the latest World Bank reports, Qatar’s real GDP growth is expected to rise to 2.6 percent in 2018.

Qatar has been working on increasing its investments in the US for many years, with those investments helping create millions of jobs, he said. Some of those investments involved partnerships with a number of American companies such as Exxon Mobil, Conoco Phillips, and Raytheon. 

The Minister said that international trade and investment represent a main component of Qatar’s economic diversification policy. The US was Qatar’s biggest source of imports in 2017, representing 16 percent of the country’s total imports. Trade balance was $5bn in favour of US, he said. 

He added that the number of American companies operating in Qatar with Qatari partners were 505. The number of companies that were owned 100 percent by Americans and operating in Qatar was around 102. Around 20 companies were working in the field of oil and gas, with 40 companies licensed by Qatar Financial Center. 

According to the Minister, there were more than 5,000 American citizens currently working in Qatar’s private sector, with a million more in the US which depend on Qatari investments. He pointed out that this meeting comes in the light of a series of economic challenges witnessed by Qatar following the illegal siege imposed on it since June 5 last year. 

This crisis has provided the opportunity to make the Qatari economy more open to all countries in the world. He pointed out that Qatar succeeded in the development of direct trade routes with a number of strategic ports and turn them towards the main trading partners of the state.

Speaking about the Qatari economy,  he said that the wise policies adopted by Qatar helped stimulate all sectors of the country to increase their productivity, which reflected positively on the national economy and helped it achieve positive growth rates during the past year. That growth confirmed the economy’s flexibility and showed that it was siege-proof.

The Economy Minister further said that the contribution of the non-oil sector to the GDP at constant prices reached 52 percent during 2017. He added that Qatar’s foreign trade witnessed remarkable growth last year, with trade volume increasing by 16 percent in 2017 to reach $103bn, compared to $89bn in 2016. 

Qatari exports were $68bn in 2017 which was an increase of 19 percent year-over-year, when exports were worth $57bn. The growth was reflected in the total trade balance of the state, by registering a surplus of about 40 percent. Trade surplus rose from $25bn in 2016 to $35bn in 2017.

The Minister stressed that all economic indicators confirm Qatar’s passing of the siege imposed on it and that the siege has contributed to enhancing the economic competitiveness of Qatar, making the country an attractive destination for American investments.  He stated that Qatar was seeking to be a regional private sector-led trade centre through the provision of high-quality goods and advanced services, together with an environment that contributes to attracting global talent and skills to support investment and strengthen the domestic market in Qatar. 

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson paid tribute to the American-Qatari relations, asserting that they were strong and constantly evolving in all areas, he commended the Qatari economy and the positive growth rates it has achieved in all the indicators, calling in this regard the companies of America in various sectors to take advantage of the investment opportunities offered by Qatar, which would benefit both countries. The delegation was led by H E Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and the presence of H E Minister of Finance Ali Sharif Al Emadi, Minister of Energy and Industry H E Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada and the President of Qatar Investment Authority, H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud Al Thani.

source: The Peninsula