Qatar is an ideal destination for bilateral trade and business collaboration, according to Dr R Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank, which recently hosted a business delegation from China.
During the delegation’s visit to Doha Bank’s headquarters in West Bay, Seetharaman gave an overview of Qatar and its progress, particularly since the June 2017 economic blockade.
He said Qatar’s overall GDP growth is projected to reach 2.6% in 2019, underpinned by a recovery in the hydrocarbon output and still robust growth of the non-hydrocarbon sector.
Health, education, and infrastructure accounted for the largest share of the 2019 budget. He highlighted the various facets of ongoing developments, the Qatar National Vision 2030, and preparations for the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Seetharaman highlighted the potential areas of opportunity and recent regulations that opened opportunities for foreign investors to set up companies in Doha, the opportunity to become a permanent resident of Qatar, and other related legislation making Qatar a “very easy to do business” destination.
He said Qatar-China trade rose 27% to $13.5bn in 2018. Exports to China amounted to $9.6bn, while imports from China stood at $3.9bn.The main commodities that China imports from Qatar are liquefied natural gas, crude oil, and petrochemical products he said.
The main commodities Qatar imports from China are machinery and equipment, electrical and electronic products, furniture, building materials, and daily necessities, Seetharaman said, adding that Qatar became China's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), supplying about 40% of its LNG needs and meeting the growing demand for energy.
Seetharaman said in September 2018, Qatargas signed a long-term sale and purchase agreement with Petro China International Company Ltd to supply 3.4mn tonnes of LNG annually to China until 2040.
In November 2018, Doha hosted the sixth edition of the World Economic Development Forum, in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Qatar-China relations.
In January 2019, during His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani’s visit to China, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry successfully organised a China-Qatar Business Forum where the Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) signed MoUs with Huewei Technologies, the Administration of Xiamen Area of China (Fujian) Pilot Free Trade Zone (Xiamen-FTZ), and China Harbour Engineering Co (CHEC).