Canada could participate in various big-ticket projects Qatar is undertaking in different sectors, Doha Bank Group CEO Dr R Seetharaman has said during a recently-held knowledge sharing session titled ‘Qatar Economic and Financial Outlook’.
Seetharaman said Qatar and Canada’s bilateral trade volume stood at $134mn in 2017, with Canada importing mineral products and chemicals from Qatar. Conversely, Canada exported plastics, vehicles, and machinery to Qatar, which had invested more than $500mn in the North American country.
He said many Canadian companies are operating in Qatar. “EllisDon’s $200mn contract in Lusail City, overseeing a $3bn real estate development project, strengthens Canada’s brand in Qatar. Other Canadian organisations with operations in Qatar include Bombardier, SNC Lavalin, Stantec, the College of North Atlantic, University of Calgary, and Tim Hortons.”
“Canadian exports of services are significant with Canadian companies providing services in areas such as architecture, construction, education, engineering, health, legal, and project-management services.
“Canada can participate in Qatar’s infrastructure, food security, and can further go deeper on the education sector. Synergistic opportunities between Qatar and Canada prevail,” Seetharaman pointed out.
Seetharaman said Qatar is expected to grow by 2.7% in 2018 and 2.8% in 2019.
“HE the Governor of the Qatar Central Bank Sheikh Abdullah bin Saoud al-Thani stated that the international reserves at the bank amounted to QR144.7bn by the end of April 2018. In February 2018, Qatar announced plans to increase liquefied natural gas production capacity. In September 2018, this was increased further to 43% from 77 to 110MTPA,” he said.
Seetharaman said in December 2018, S&P Global Ratings announced that it revised its outlook on Qatar to stable from negative. Health, education, and infrastructure accounted for the largest share of the 2019 budget, he also said.
Seetharaman said the Global Competitiveness Report 2018 has stated that Qatar has improved its rank by two places from last year’s 32nd to 30th place out of 135 countries.
“Qatar is ranked 83 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. The Doha Metro Project will get ready by 2020, providing residents a chance to ride trains that are among the fastest in the region.
“The first Free Zone in Qatar, Umm Al Houl Free Zone, located next to Hamad Port, will be ready to receive local and foreign investors during the first quarter of 2019. The economic zones aim at providing a level of an economic security in terms of free flow of goods to the State and the local market, in addition to supporting the process of economic diversification by strengthening the GDP and attracting investors from around the world to add to the process of economic diversification,” Seetharaman said.
He added, “The Gulf is basically an importing region with large trade deficits outside oil. So, there are no reasons for other countries to impose tariffs on its exports and definitely the region does not have any interest in imposing tariffs on its imports.
“But there will be some indirect second-round effects on the region through a few channels if global trade tensions persist. The General Tax Authority (GTA) has been established as a separate entity, under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance in January 2019.”
The knowledge sharing session was hosted by Doha Bank and the Canadian Business Council in Qatar (CBCQ). CBCQ treasurer Jeffrey Asselstine, who is also managing director of Nelson Park Property, delivered an introduction on CBCQ, while David Himmelman, College of the North Atlantic-Qatar’s dean of the School of Business Studies, shared the CNA-Q’s success story.
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