Qatar-US Economic Forum Kicks Off in Miami
The Qatar-US Economic Forum kicked off, Wednesday in Miami, Florida, as part of Qatar’s economic tour of the United States.
The forum was organized by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce in collaboration with the Qatar Chamber, the American Chamber of Commerce, the Qatari Businessmen Association, the Qatar American Business Council and a number of US official bodies.
The forum aimed to promote and expand trade and economic relations between the State of Qatar and the United States of America, and provide an opportunity for communication among business leaders as well as the promotion of cooperation between the private sector on both sides, besides discussing ways to establish joint investment projects that benefit both countries.
More than 200 businessmen and Qatari officials attended the forum, along with about 200 businessmen and CEOs of US major companies. The forum also featured a number of business meetings between the two sides, aimed at strengthening economic ties between the two countries.
Discussions sessions were organized on a number of sectors, including partnership and investment opportunities between the two sides, as well as food security, tourism, logistics, infrastructure and a number of other important and vital topics.
Addressing the Qatar-US Business Forum in Miami, Qatar Chamber (QC) Chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim Al Thani said that Qatar and the US are very keen to provide more incentives and concessions to attract investors and strengthen businessmen’s relations for the advantage of both countries’ economies.
The private sector of both the countries have devoted substantial resources to further support the ongoing robust economic relations, he noted.
Sheikh Khalifa said Qatar and the US relations have seen great development in all cooperation aspects. They strove to foster their economic ties and remove all obstacles that might face establishing mutual and joint investments.
With regard to the mutual investments, the Qatar Chamber Chairman noted Qatari investments in the US are billions of dollars deployed in technologies, media, entertainment, energy, real estate..etc. City Center DC in Washington is the first Qatari investment in the US real estate sector.
The Qatar Investment Authority is interested in increasing Qatari investments in the years ahead. Further, there are many private investments for Qatari investors here. There are many Qatari investments in hospitality in Miami.
On the other hand, there are more than 400 American companies operating in Qatar. The number of companies that were owned 100 percent by Americans was around 112 companies, while there are 290 companies with Qatari partners. The total capital of these companies is about $2.5bn.
Sheikh Khalifa said the ongoing siege imposed on Qatar since last year has significantly motivated the private sector to enhance its contribution in productive projects in numerous economic sectors which helped to reduce reliance on imports.
In the wake of the siege, the government has adopted a multitude of policies and procedures. It has sought to issue new laws and introduce key amendments to several existing legislation in order to attract and promote local and foreign investments.
These policies helped increase competitiveness of the national economy and helped in attracting more investments to Qatar.
Therefore, American businessmen are highly welcomed to enter into the Qatari market, particularly that economic laws allow full ownership for foreign investors at specific sectors. These incentives also include the exemption of income tax in specific sectors and exemption of custom on importing raw materials and equipment.
Qatar has recently established four new logistic zones which reduced storage fees and supported supply chains. It is also working on establishing free zones which will provide more direct foreign investment opportunities.
According to the latest World Bank reports, Qatar real GDP growth rose to 2percent in 2017, and it is expected to rise to 2.6 percent in 2018.
This emphasises that Qatar economy is growing rapidly despite the siege and confirmed the economy’s flexibility and showed that it was siege-proof. This also affirmed that economic legislations have attracted more investments and international companies to the Qatari market.
The Qatari delegation was headed by HE the Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al-Thani.
Beginning in Miami, Florida, the tour will take the Qatari officials to Washington, DC, Columbia; Charleston, South Carolina; and Raleigh, North Carolina.
The minister and the accompanying delegation hold meetings with business leaders and officials to highlight and bolster prospects for economic, trade and investment co-operation.
The Qatari delegation included Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar’s ambassador to the US and representatives from the MEC, Ministry of Energy and Industry, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Qatar Airways, Qatar Foundation, Doha Film Institute, Qatar Stock Exchange, Free Zones Authority, Qatar Financial Centre, beIN Sports, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, QNB, Manateq, Qatari Diar, Katara Hospitality, Qatar Tourism Authority and several other major entities in Qatar.
The forum brought together more than 200 businesspersons and officials from Qatar, along with around 200 businesspersons and CEOs of major US companies. Business-to-business sessions will be conducted on the sidelines of the forum as attendees seek to bolster the strong and long-standing economic partnership between Qatar and the US, the statement notes.
The Qatari delegation is visiting US cities that have seen a surge in Qatari investments. The programme features economic forums, bilateral discussions, meetings between Qatari businesspersons and their American counterparts, and round-table discussions in the fields of real estate, investment, hospitality, tourism, hotel, technology, health, medicine, banking, law, public-private partnerships and infrastructure projects. Exhibitions will also be organised on the sidelines of the tour in the US cities that will be visited. The exhibitions will shed light on Qatar’s culture heritage, major investments and economic capabilities.