HE the Minister of Finance Ali Sherif al-Emadi affirmed that Qatar and the US are bound by strategic alliance relations that have reflected on their co-operation in political, economic, commercial, investment, educational, energy and gas production and other fields.
With regard to the implications of the trade war between the US and China, and its shadows on the global economy, the finance minister said at the plenary session on Global Institutions and National Economies held on the sidelines of the Doha Forum 2019 that an agreement between the two parties could bring many positive results to all, stressing that in the rivalry between two giant economies, no one can win.
He pointed out that the world economy will face many challenges during the coming period, most of which will be in developing countries, noting the important role that the American, Chinese and Russian economies will play as advanced economies in the field of global economic growth.
He also pointed out that among the factors that affected the global economic growth was the drop in oil prices, which at some levels reached between $50 and $60 per barrel, and that also resulted in lower levels of growth in the Gulf countries if compared to previous figures, he added.
Regarding Qatar’s openness to foreign currencies, HE al-Emadi affirmed that Qatar is open to all currencies - Chinese, European or other currencies - stressing in the same context that majority of Qatar’s exports are in US dollars and that the national currency is linked to the US dollar, which is of benefit to the national economy.
Commenting on the unjust blockade imposed on Qatar, the minister stated that Qatar resorted during the blockade to using the Iranian airspace after the air and land borders with a number of Gulf countries were closed. During that period until now, the percentage of trade between Qatar and Iran has not exceeded 3% of the total intra-regional trade between the Gulf countries and Iran, he explained indicating that biggest portion of the Qatar-Iran trade exchange is limited to food and agricultural products in addition to some humanitarian aid. After closing of its borders, Qatar was forced to pass into international markets through the Iranian airspace, he stressed.
The minister said that the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) was based on economic integration before the blockade, which was imposed through a sudden decision.
He added that in the past, Qatar used to import many commodities from the Gulf countries, giving example with products of which Qatar, after the blockade, has achieved self-sufficiency and started exporting abroad.
He said that Qatar Airways, during the blockade, lost 19 destinations, but was able to compensate that by opening 24 new lines, pointing out that the number of tourists coming to Qatar is expected to increase to about 2mn.
In a related context, the minister said that Qatar has provided financial and economic support to many countries in the Middle East region, especially those that suffering from economic difficulties, like Lebanon, for which $500mn has been secured to support its economy. He stressed that Qatar abides by its pledges, adding that that most of the economic activities carried out by Qatar during the past period were taking place times of hardship to these countries, which comes within the framework of Qatar support for brotherly and friendly countries.
He affirmed that Lebanon is an important country in the region and that its stability is important for the Gulf countries and for the world as a whole, adding that Qatar will always be committed to supporting its brothers and friends.
For his part, US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin emphasised that Qatar is an important strategic partner of the United States, noting its strong contribution to the global economy, especially after it has announced increasing its LNG production as one of the most important commodities that countries have come to demand as one of the clean energy sources that contribute to curbing climate change.
His Excellency commended the State of Qatar’s excellence and focus with the United States, during the past three years, on the issues of anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (Search Results Web results AML/CFT), stressing that the State of Qatar has worked seriously on these files and issued many rules and laws that come within the framework of AML/CFT.
He emphasised the importance of the GCC states, especially in AML/CFT, in order to provide common ground that serves the stability of the region and enhances bilateral cooperation in regional and international issues.
On what is described as a trade war between China and the US, Mnuchin stated that the US seeks to achieve more balance and stability in trade relations with China, and that the trade agreement with them is important.
He pointed out that the US economy succeeded during the presidency of President Donald Trump in achieving positive indicators, especially in reducing unemployment rates; developing the economy; and enhancing defence and military capabilities.
Regarding the US sanctions on a number of countries, including Iran and North Korea, he pointed out that these sanctions are mainly aimed at protecting human rights in these countries, indicating that the imposition of sanctions on Iran comes within the framework of deterring it from developing nuclear weapons.
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