HE the Minister of Commerce & Industry is leading a private sector delegation to Washington this week to participate in the 2019 Select USA Investment Summit.
The US-Qatar Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce hosted a business luncheon, welcoming HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari on his first official visit to the US since his appointment as a minister.
Al-Kuwari is leading a private sector delegation to Washington this week to participate in the 2019 Select USA Investment Summit.
The luncheon welcomed more than 60 senior US executives to meet the minister and members of his delegation, as well as Qatar's ambassador to the US, Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad al-Thani.
Sponsors of the luncheon included ConocoPhillips, Y International USA and Excelerate Energy; all of whom are major partners of the State of Qatar and Oryx-level members of the US-Qatar Business Council.
Khush Choksy, senior vice president (Middle East and Turkey Affairs) at the US Chamber of Commerce, opened the luncheon, welcoming the Minister and his delegation.
Jared Cutright, international government affairs and political risk manager at ConocoPhillips, commended the minister on Qatar's strong business climate and the ease of foreign direct investment. Steven Kobos, managing director, Excelerate Energy, also thanked the minister for participating and the Chamber and the Council for hosting.
He shared the numerous projects Excelerate is engaged in Qatar and their commitment to the US-Qatar trade relationship.
Scott Weber, regional manager, Y International USA also thanked the minister and his delegation. Y International USA has major operations in New Jersey, for exports to Qatar.
Anne Patterson, president, US-Qatar Business Council, delivered brief remarks after thanking the minister and his team, Qatar's ambassador to the US and the participants including the US Chargé d’Affaires to Qatar, William Grant for their support of the US-Qatar bilateral relationship.
"Qatar has major projects underway that create great opportunity for American companies, and for stability in the region. Qatar's $30-$40bn LNG expansion project will secure the State's place as the world's largest supplier of natural gas and will require the support of American companies. Qatar Petroleum will continue to invest in the United States, creating more American jobs across the country. Qatar is a great support to the US economy and the trade relationship has never been stronger," said Patterson. "Qatar has created a very favourable business climate with incentives for investors, a strong, well-educated labour force, and is home to the largest business incubator in the region. We encourage American companies to take advantage of the Minister's time in Washington, and to look to future opportunities for trade and investment," she added.
The minister delivered remarks, welcoming guests to the luncheon and thanking the Council and the US Chamber for hosting him and his delegation. He focused on the strength of the Qatari economy and recent legislation meant to improve bilateral trade and investment.
"The United States is key to Qatar's economic growth. The US-Qatar trade relationship is growing increasingly strong, with a balance of 84% in favour of the United States. More than 19% of Qatar's imports come from the United States, with 15,000 Americans working in Qatar. Qatar is working continuously to attract foreign investment and to connect its economy regionally and globally,” said the minister.
The minister also described the steps taken to rationalise the investment process, through a new umbrella organisation, Qatar Investment Promotion Agency, that will help companies work with the Qatar Free Zones Authority, Qatar Financial Centre, and other entities including the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
He urged companies to seek out partners in Qatar’s private sector, which has invested more than $5bn in the US market. The minister described Qatar as the ideal place to set up shop to work in markets like Iraq.
Qatar’s infrastructure, air links, incentive structure, and relations with Iraq make Qatar an ideal place to locate. The minister also described Qatar as the focal point for a 400mn plus market regionally, which can be easily reached by Qatar’s “excellent “transportation links and infrastructure.
Mohamed Barakat, managing director, US-Qatar Business Council said, "We appreciate the Minister's participation and are encouraged by the growth in Qatar he described. The Council stands at the ready to support bilateral trade initiatives and looks forward to engaging more American companies in Qatar."