Minister of Commerce and Industry H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari with Abdul Razak Dawood (second left), Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, along with other dignitaries at the event. Pic: Abdul Basit / The Peninsula
Doha: Highlighting the need of further strengthening economic ties between Qatar and Pakistan, Minister of Commerce and Industry H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari has said the trade volume between the two countries increased 233 percent in 2018.
In his speech at Qatar-Pakistan Trade and Investment Forum yesterday, H E the Minister said that trade relations between Qatar and Pakistan had witnessed strong momentum in past 10 years and trade exchange volume had reached to QR2.6bn in 2018 while it was QR782m in 2016.
“There are 1,488 companies in Doha with joint capital between Qatar and Pakistan which are engaged in the fields of energy, contracting, plastics and heavy equipment leasing. Qatar also has seven companies with 100 percent Pakistani capital,” the Minister added.
Qatar-Pakistan Trade and Investment Forum which was held yesterday attended by a number of Pakistani and Qatari companies as well Advisor of Pakistan’s Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industry & Production, and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood; CEO of Qatar Financial Center (QFC) Authority, Yousuf Mohamed Al Jaida; Chairman of Pakistan’s Board of Investment, Haroon Sharif among other officials from both sides.
H E the Minister of Commerce and Industry said he was looking forward to strengthening ties further through regular trade forums and fairs, as well as exchanging visits to improve public-private cooperation in both countries.
“The forum will pave the way for new creative ideas to facilitate trade and investment especially that the State of Qatar has become a regional trade platform due to its strategic location and world class facilities,” H E Al Kuwari added.
The Minister said that in 2018 Qatar’s foreign trade achieved a surplus of $52bn and a growth of 40 percent compared to 2017, with its exports growing by 25 percent and the non-oil sectors’ contribution to GDP increased to 52 percent in 2017.
He said that as per the World Bank reports, the Qatari economy was expected to grow by 2.7 percent in 2019 and three percent next year. He added that Qatar ranked high in many international reports, ranking first in the Arab world and 22nd globally in the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Index, issued by the Global Entrepreneurship Development Institute.
He expressed hope that the forum would pave the way to establish successful investment partnerships between the Qatari private sector and the Pakistani counterpart in the industrial and agricultural sectors as well as the rest of the economic sectors.
H E Al Kuwari called on benefiting from the ongoing agreements and accelerate the establishment of the Qatari-Pakistan business council to encourage businessmen to explore the leading investment opportunities in both countries.
Dawood said that Pakistan had become a destination for investment due to government of Pakistan’s recently carved out investor friendly policies.
“These policies of the government of Pakistan include lucrative incentives for foreign investors,” he said.
Highlighting the recent economic stability and progressive ongoing economic activities in the wake of China Pakistan Economic Corridor, Dawood said that Pakistan had emerged as an ideal market for investment. “The improved security situation has also motivated foreign investors for their safe investments in Pakistan.”
He stated that trade volume between Pakistan and Qatar could be enhanced through increased business engagements.
He encouraged Qatari investors to invest in Pakistan mainly in real estate, hospitality, petro-chemical, food & agriculture sectors. Dawood pointed out that the two sides could establish a strategic alliance that would provide Qatar with its aspirations in terms of food security, through cooperation between the designated authorities in Qatar and the agricultural sector in Pakistan.
Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Financial Center Authority, Yousuf Al Jaida, shed light on the new emerging belt initiative which included countries like Turkey, Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar, Oman, Malaysia and Pakistan. He stated that this initiative would further enhance the trade and investment ties amongst these countries.
Al Jaida said that Pakistan was the 13th largest trading partner in terms of trade with Qatar. He also referred to the recent announcement made by QFC regarding a new strategy that would focus on specific sectors such as sports, media, and financial services. He said Pakistan was one of the best promising economies in the region with its geographical location and a consumer market exceeding 200 million people.
Chairman of Pakistan’s Board of Investment, Haroon Sharif, gave a detailed presentation on ‘Investment Opportunities in Pakistan’. He reiterated Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement that it was the best time for investment in Pakistan and the opportunity should not be missed.
Pakistan Ambassador to Qatar, Syed Ahsan Raza Shah, was also present on the occasion. The conference was followed by business to business meetings of the businessmen participating from both sides.
Meanwhile, Minister of Commerce and Industry H E Ali bin Ahmad Al Kuwari, also met with Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Abdul Razzaq Dawood, The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Qatar-Pakistan Trade and Investment Forum.
Discussions touched on the promotion of bilateral relations and the development of joint cooperation, particularly in the fields of trade, investment and industry in light of the friendly ties and strategic interests that Qatar and Pakistan share, said a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The meeting focused on the latest developments that the Qatari economy witnessed over the past years, investment opportunities across various sectors, the legislations that Qatar has adopted and the initiatives being undertaken to support the private sector, attract foreign direct investment and encourage Pakistani companies to invest in Qatar.
Discussions also touched on the development of mechanisms aimed at supporting joint investments and encouraging the private sector to establish innovative investment projects in key sectors that would serve the economic aspirations of both countries.