Posted on March 14, 2015
Australia looks to further strengthen its trade relations with Qatar by introducing more Australian companies to the Qatari market and encourage them to invest in the country,” Australia Business Connect chairman Ray Najar has said.
Najar, who was former national chairman of the Australian-Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry, represented some 16 Australia-based companies specialising in agriculture, food, engineering services, mining, oil and gas, environmental technologies, water technologies, and construction in a meeting with Qatar Chamber yesterday. According to Najar, the Qatar-Australia bilateral trade in 2014 posted a total of $850mn. Comparing it to the $2bn worth of goods exchanged with Saudi Arabia, Najar said one of the purposes of their visit was to boost trade relations between Qatar and Australia.
“The purpose of the visit is to promote trade between Qatar and Australia, but also to provide services in the fields of engineering and agriculture. Trade relationship between the two countries is reasonably good, with Qatar obviously buying more from Australia than we do from this country,” Najar told Gulf Times. He further said: “We do buy oil and gas products from Qatar but I think the balance is in Australia’s favour. Australia probably sells around close to $500mn worth of trade this way compared to about around $350mn the other way.”
Najar also stressed that bringing in more investors to Qatar would be an essential factor in increasing trade volume between the two countries. “Another reason why we are visiting Qatar is to introduce new companies to the market. That’s the only way you can do it (increase trade volume), and we will encourage more Australian firms to come here as well,” he said. The Australian trade delegation also met with officials of Hassad Food Company, the country’s investor and developer in the agriculture and livestock sector, which established Hassad Australia in 2009 as its first overseas investment. Describing Hassad Australia as a “very successful company,” Najar emphasised that Australia has “very strong business relations with Hassad.”
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Asked about details of the trade delegation’s meeting with the food company, Najar said: “We merely discussed the opportunities that have been going forward, and we have been in talks with them to introduce another company that specialises in seeds that they need.” Najar added that Hassad Foods has more than 100 hectares of land in Australia composed of several farms distributed in different areas. “Hassad has been producing food by growing crops in Australia and importing food back to Qatar and they’re obviously making a business; it’s a very profitable business for them,” Najar noted.
Joshua Rasheed of the South Australia Seed Marketers, who was also part of the trade delegation, added that the company had preliminary discussions with Hassad Food for possible supply of seeds for food production, quality, and pricing. “Our discussion mainly revolved around areas of expansion opportunities with Hassad Foods in terms of importation of seeds and other foods but we are still in the exploratory stages but I am positive that we could come up with feasible in the future,” Rasheed said.
source: Gulf Times