H.E Mr. Sultan Bin Rashid Al-Khater, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry chaired today the Qatar-China Economic Forum, which took place on the sidelines of the First China International Import Expo in Shanghai. The event was also attended by Mrs. Xu Lumi, Deputy Director General of the Department of West Asian and African Affairs at China's Ministry of Commerce.
Since the 1980's, Qatar and China have enjoyed friendly relations, marked by the opening of embassies, the exchange of high-ranking official visits and the signing of several cooperation agreements aimed at strengthening economic and trade relations, H.E said in his opening speech.
These are mainly related to the promotion and protection of mutual investments, the development of joint investments, and several other memoranda of understanding in the areas of research, health, cultural and education fields, as well as maritime, air and land shipping, H.E added.
H.E. explained that these agreements reflect both countries' keenness on strengthening cooperation across numerous fields, especially on the economic, trade and investment levels.
H.E Mr. Sultan Bin Rashid Al-Khater noted that China ranks as Qatar's third-largest trading partner, with $10.6 billion worth of traded goods in 2017, accounting for 10.92% of Qatar's total trade volume.
Touching on Chinese investments in Qatar, H.E said at least 14 fully owned Chinese companies and over 181 joint Qatari-Chinese firms are currently operating in the Qatari market covering areas such as engineering, consulting, contracting, IT, commerce and services sectors.
H.E Mr. Sultan Bin Rashid Al Khater emphasized that today's conference marks another milestone in the successful journey of Qatari-Chinese partnerships, adding that Qatar looks forward to building on bilateral ties and strengthening cooperation between the Qatari and Chinese private and public sectors to bolster trade and stimulate growth.
Elaborating on the resilience of Qatar's economy, H.E said the "wise economic policies that the country's leadership has pursued to achieve the Qatar National Vision 2030, and build a diversified and competitive knowledge-based economy, have positioned Qatar as one of the most dynamic, stable and diversified investment destinations in the region."
International agencies have commended Qatar's wise economic policies and the country's success in weathering the regional crisis, H.E explained, noting that Fitch Ratings has classified Qatar's outlook as stable, cementing the country's (-AA) credit rating, one of the highest worldwide.
H.E added that Qatar has begun to fast-track the implementation of progressive economic policies and has introduced key amendments to a number of existing business legislations to attract and encourage domestic and foreign investments
H.E said these laws include the Investment Free Zones Law, the Investment of Non-Qatari Capital in Economic Activity, which allows up to 100% foreign investment in all economic and trade activities.
Qatar is also in the process of introducing a public and private sectors partnership law to pave the way for the launch of several investment projects, H.E noted.
H.E Mr. Sultan Bin Rashid Al-Khater concluded by reiterating that Qatar welcomes Chinese investors who are looking to tap the promising investment opportunities that the country's economy offers while working alongside Qatar to achieve shared economic goals, adding that Qatar's business environment is the ideal place to do business.
The forum is aimed at enhancing economic, trade and investment cooperation between Qatar and China and building communication channels between representatives of the Qatari and Chinese private sectors to establish joint investment projects that serve the interests of both countries.
The Qatar-China Economic Forum also featured the organization of two working sessions. The first session focused on the opportunities for joint projects, investments and efforts to address challenges while the second session touched on the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the challenges and opportunities of Qatari-Chinese cooperation as well as the challenges facing Qatar in the energy sector.
The forum also featured bilateral meetings between Qatari and Chinese businessmen during which participants reviewed investment opportunities available in both countries and discussed building long-term economic cooperation mechanisms between Qatari and Chinese companies.