US-Qatar Business Council managing director Mohamed Barakat recently highlighted Qatar's advanced infrastructure, economic resiliency, and new regulations that make investing and establishing easier for American companies.
He was speaking at a business luncheon hosted in Chicago by US-Qatar Business Council, in partnership with the Chicago Regional Growth Corporation and the Illinois District Export Council, featuring Nasser Allenqawi, Qatar’s consul general in New York.
"Despite generating great revenue from the export of liquefied natural gas, the State of Qatar has focused on reinvesting that revenue on its own economy, with a focus on infrastructure and the private sector," said Barakat.
"Qatar now allows 100% foreign ownership, offers competitive incentives for foreign companies, and is strategically located for companies seeking to do work regionally," he said.
Qatar-America Institute (QAI) hosted the US representative from the Qatar's World Cup organising entity, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), in a briefing session with Chicago-area executives and leaders from across the sports sector.
The SC shared updates and addressed questions about the mega-event expected to attract 1.5mn fans to Qatar in November 2022.
During the briefing, the SC’s representative emphasised Qatar’s commitment to deliver a “not only national, but also tournament showcasing all countries and cultures of the region.”
Another commitment that was highlighted was the SC’s pledge to allocate between $40mn-$50mn to pay off construction migrant workers' debts at their home countries.
The representative stressed the existing US-Qatar economic ties in relation to the Qatar World Cup, which will reach $10bn invested in American services and expertise for the tournament in 2022.
During the briefing, the SC’s representative noted Qatar’s recently implemented reforms for workers’ rights, which reflect their commitment to respect the standards of hosting the tournament and to improve the welfare of the country’s expatriate labour force. This was witnessed with the following policy decisions: Qatar’s unilateral decision to sign a three-year technical co-operation agreement with the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation to promote labour laws in the country and build government officials’ capacity to implement them and ensure that recruitment practices are in line with best international practices.
The two-day run of events concluded with a packed reception that gathered more than 100 local business and community leaders to celebrate the impacts, cultural and education links, business opportunities and jobs created by the long-standing partnership between Qatar and the US.
Allenqawi and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse Clark White addressed the guests and underscored the commitment to continued collaboration between Qatar and Chicagoland businesses and cultural institutions.
In his remarks, Allenqawi thanked QAI, USQBC, and Chicago’s local business and cultural communities for a successful series of meetings and events.
“I sincerely hope this was energising and inspiring for you all, as it was for me, and that we can build and inspire on the ideas exchanged to further the relations between our two nations.”
Meanwhile, the US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC) and the Qatar-America Institute (QAI) completed a two-day outreach trip to Chicago with Allenqawi.
The visit included a series of high-level engagements in the city focused on education, culture, and business as part of a series of outreach visits focused on enhancing the US-Qatar bilateral relationship.
As part of "The Qatar America Institute’s Expressions Series" on those that have been inspired by Qatari art and culture, noted author and architectural critic Philip Jodidio and former senior associate dean of Northwestern University in Qatar, Richard J Roth, kicked off the Chicago-based events with a dialogue on contemporary architecture and urban development in Doha.
The event gathered Chicago area architects, engineers, business leaders and students for an overview by Jodidio that included discussion of Qatar’s state-of-the-art museums and internationally acclaimed original architecture including the I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art; the Qatar National Library; Msheireb Downtown Doha with major design and sustainability innovations by Chicago-based architects and engineers; the Sidra Medical and Research Centre, and a host of Pritzker-laureate architecture that forms the campus of the Qatar Foundation and six top US universities in Doha; and the newly-opened National Museum of Qatar — Jean Nouvel’s second iconic work to be built in Doha.