China, the world’s second largest economy, represents an attractive destination for Qatari investments in the fields of shipbuilding, manufacturing, petrochemicals, technology, hospitality, tourism and financial services among other vital industries, said the Minister of Commerce and Industry H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari in his remarks at the opening of the Qatar-China Business Forum in Beijing, yesterday.
The Minister of Commerce and Industry emphasised that Qatar’s partnership with China serves as a model for the country’s international economic relations.
Minister Al Kuwari noted that the two countries have enjoyed over three decades of diplomatic and economic cooperation and friendly ties, marked by the exchange of official visits.
The Forum, which coincided with the official visit of the Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Expanding Qatari-Chinese bilateral trade levels reflect the importance of this partnership and its promising prospects, said the minister, noting that China ranks as Qatar’s third-largest trading partner.
Qatar-Chinese trade rose 27 percent in 2018 to $13.5bn, accounting for 11.7 percent of Qatar’s total trade volume. Touching on Chinese investments in Qatar, he said that more than 14 fully owned Chinese companies are currently operating in Qatar, in addition to 181 joint Qatari-Chinese firms.
Qatar and China are also bound by several important memoranda of understanding and agreements, which that contribute to the further development of bilateral ties, the minister said.
He also noted the importance of breathing life into existing agreements, and ratifying new ones, to pave the way for fresh Qatari-Chinese private sector partnerships and joint investments that serve the aspirations of both countries.
In this context, the minister invited Chinese companies to take advantage of the business and investment-friendly environment that Qatar offers to foreign investors, as evidenced by the nation’s high ranking by some the world’s most prestigious international institutions.
Globally, Qatar ranks first in terms of low inflation rates, sixth in terms of the effect of taxes on competition, eighth in terms of venture capital availability, and ninth in terms of financing small and medium enterprises (SMEs), according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2018.
Al Kuwari explained that Qatar’s significant success in this regard has been driven by the integrated policies established by the country’s wise leadership to open the economy, and attract investments into industries and sectors that will cement Qatar’s position as a leading regional trade and investment hub.
Touching on investment incentives that Qatar offers to Chinese investors, he explained that foreign investors are allowed up to 100 percent ownership across various sectors and industries, among other incentives that will enable companies to expand their businesses to regional markets by taking advantage of Qatar’s prime location at a strategic point between East and West.
He added that Qatar has also been keen on protecting intellectual property rights and guaranteeing investors the freedom to transfer capital from and to the country, in addition to developing an advanced network of free zones and logistics and industrial areas in line with the highest international standards.
These facilities have positioned Qatar as an attractive destination for foreign direct investment, which increased by 4 percent – the equivalent of $7.8bn – to $186bn for the first quarter of 2018, up from $178bn at the end of 2017.
He also highlighted Qatar’s positive economic performance, noting that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose to $222bn in 2017 from $218bn in 2016, growing at an annual rate of 1.6 percent.
Source from: The Peninsula