Posted on September 24, 2017

Minister of Economy and Commerce H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani affirmed that Qatar’s economy has proved its strength and resilience in the face of many global challenges that their impacts affected major economies of the developed countries.

Despite the fact that more than three months have elapsed since the illegal siege on the State of Qatar, which aims to undermine its position as an economically independent and sovereign State, Qatar has succeeded in strengthening its power and independence more than ever, the Minister said at the dialogue session organised by the Business Council for International Understanding at Harvard Club in New York under the title “The Qatari economy under the current siege and the future”. The event was held on the sidelines of Qatar’s participation in the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.

According to a statement issued today by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, the dialogue session was attended by an elite of decision-makers, executive heads and senior diplomatic officials. Qatar managed, under the wise guidance of the the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to break the siege by activating its strategies and pre-emptive plans that have been in place for many years to address any local or global crises, the Minister said. Minister of Economy and Commerce H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani pointed to the role of his Ministry and related parties in the development and implementation of these plans and stressing that these efforts contributed to the maintenance of the normal daily life by finding alternative markets to the siege countries to import goods and services.

The Minister said that Qatar was working on developing the necessary mechanisms to reduce costs and improve speed, time and efficiency required for the import of goods and services, noting that the blockade contributed to speeding up the pace of launching initiatives, programmes and laws, particularly those related to investment.

The measures imposed by the siege countries had a positive impact on the economy, he said, adding that the State succeeded in establishing alternative and direct trade routes with a number of strategic venues around the world within a few days of the imposition of the blockade. After the arbitrary closure of its only land border crossing, Qatar used Hamad International Airport, one of the best airports in the world, to ensure the normal movement of flights and cargo to more than 150 destinations around the world via Qatar Airways, the best airline in the world.

He also touched on the launch of Hamad Port earlier this month, adding that the cost of this project is estimated at $7.4bn and is capable of accommodating up to 7.5 million containers a year. He pointed out that Qatar has all the logistical capabilities needed to import goods directly to enhance its status as a transit point for trade in the Middle East region. In the same context, the Minister pointed out that the opening of Hamad Port project comes as part of a broader strategy aimed at ensuring the continued flow of alternative consumer goods and products to local markets at the same level as before the crisis, adding that Qatar managed through the port to reduce the direct negative consequences of the blockade, and that the project will make the State of Qatar an important commercial center in the region.

HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani highlighted the IMF report which affirmed that the Qatari banking sector remains sound, with high asset quality and strong capitalization, adding that Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment approved the second national development strategy which is characterized by a greater focus on diversification of economic activity. He added that the IMF said that despite rising transport and food costs, overall inflation remained subdued 0.8 percent year-on-year-basis in June and 0.2 percent in July.

The Minister explained that the vision and values set by the State of Qatar played a key role in enhancing the ability of the national economy to overcome the difficulties imposed by the siege countries, pointing out that Qatar’s GDP at constant 2013 prices witnessed a growth of 2.5 percent in the first quarter (Q1) of 2017 compared to same quarter previous year. As for the advantages of the business environment in the State of Qatar, he noted that the huge natural resources built on the revenues of natural gas exports contributed to the strength of the Qatari economy and helped it withstand the arbitrary measures taken by the neighboring countries, especially after Qatar announced its intention to increase its gas production by 30 percent.

The Minister added that the State has developed flexible economic policies that have contributed to enhancing the ease of doing business through the launch of ‘Invest in Qatar’ office, which facilitates all procedures for the foreign investor and provides support at all stages of investment, in addition to providing advanced electronic services for the establishment of businesses, in addition to economic and logistic zones that meet all the needs of the investor. In this regard, the Minister said that efforts are going on to complete the implementation of logistics projects, which will contribute to reduce the shortage of storage space in order to meet the need of small and medium companies and secure advanced logistics services.

With regard to the legal and legislative frameworks set by the State to stimulate investment, he pointed out that important laws have been enacted which have greatly facilitated the establishment of companies in the State of Qatar, including the issuance of the Commercial Companies Law, which abolished minimum capital requirements for the establishment of limited liability companies. He added that the State has provided non-Qatari investors with the opportunity to carry out investment projects in specific economic fields, with a percentage ranging between 49% and 100% in the sectors of agriculture, industry, health, education, tourism, the development and exploitation of natural resources, energy and mining.