USQBC Hosts Qatari Delegation for Business Event in Washington, DC

The US-Qatar Business Council's "Doing Business in Qatar: Reforms, Incentives, & Economic Indicators" took place Friday, November 15, in Washington, DC. The business event featured senior members of a visiting Qatari delegation comprised of representatives from the Ministry of Interior of the State of Qatar, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Qatar Financial Centre, and other critical entities in Qatar's government. The visiting delegation was in Washington for meetings focused on enhancing the business environment. 

The event was opened by Mr. Mohammed Barakat, the US-Qatar Business Council's Managing Director, who thanked participants for joining and introduced Ambassador Anne Patterson, President of the US-Qatar Business Council. 

Ambassador Patterson delivered opening remarks highlighting major reforms which have taken place in Qatar, paving the way for more private sector development, and encouraging more American companies to invest in the country. She then introduced Mr. Khamis Al-Mohannnadi, Advisor to His Excellency the Prime Minister & Minister of Interior of the State of Qatar. 

Mr. Al-Mohannadi delivered a keynote address to attendees. During his remarks, he highlighted the productive week the delegation had in Washington and developments taking place in Qatar that will improve the business climate. "
Qatar has shown remarkable performance as one of the fastest growing economies, it has embarked on a path of reforms to advance the business environment. In addition, it created concrete opportunities for businesses alongside appealing incentives, dedicated to FDI,” said Mr. Al-Mohannadi 

Mr. Barakat then moderated a panel discussion comprised of experts on Qatar's economy and economic diversification, including Mr. Saud Al-Attiyah, Deputy Undersecretary for Economic Affairs with the Ministry of Finance; Mr. Nasser Al-Taweel, Advisor to HE the Minister, the Ministry of Finance; Dr. Durmus Yoruk, Economic Expert, The Ministry of Finance; and Mr. Mohamed Abdulkader; Senior Private Sector Specialist, the World Bank. 

Mr. Al-Attiyah highlighted Qatar's three eras of economic development and the role played by the 2022 FIFA World Cup, set to be hosted in Qatar. He discussed critical investments in Qatar's infrastructure, expedited by the hosting of the mega-sporting event, but in-line with Qatar's 2030 National Vision. These developments have paved the way for a third era of economic development, which will focus on economic diversification and welcome a focus on foreign direct investment into Qatar. 

Mr. Al-Taweel discussed the slogan "We Mean Business" which has been a motto for the Qatar Financial Centre, a premier financial center based in Doha. He emphasized the slogan is not without backing, and Qatar has made a concerted effort to create a pro-business ecosystem. He touched on various components of Qatar's robust legal system, and in particular the legal framework of Qatar Financial Centre, which is designed for business best practices and to encourage increased foreign direct investment. Mr. Al-Taweel also highlighted the efficiency of Qatar's systems for establishing a legal presence as a company and receive visas for staff to operate locally. 

Dr. Yoruk commented primarily on Qatar's public-private partnerships (PPP) regulations, which are due to be signed into law soon. He emphasized Qatar's careful work in developing a PPP law that would facilitate development in the private sector under a more natural line of progression to encourage sustainable economic growth in the country. He described the PPP law as focusing on waste management, municipal projects, and continued infrastructure development, which will all in-turn contribute to further economic development. 

Mr. Abdulkader of the World Bank described his work with Qatar and this particular visiting delegation. The World Bank indicators for Qatar have increased dramatically in previous years as the country has enacted pro-business reforms and created a sustainable ecosystem for the development of its private sector. 

The event concluded with a presentation focused on investment promotion and the ease of doing business in Qatar delivered by Mr. Saleh Al-Khulaifi, Assistant Undersecretary for Commerce with the Ministry of Commerce & Industry of the State of Qatar. Mr. Al-Khulaifi highlighted Qatar's state-of-the-art infrastructure from telecommunications, to education, and transportation. He described Qatar's mission to attract foreign direct investment by creating an environment that fosters private sector growth and provides access to growing regional economies. 

"2020 will see a dramatic increase in US-Qatar commercial relations as the Investment Promotion Agency works to attract US companies to Qatar," said Mr. Barakat, "The US-Qatar Business Council seeks to effectively communicate these developments to the American private sector and facilitate greater trade and investment," he added. 

This event was made possible by the generous sponsorship of ConocoPhillips and the Embassy of the State of Qatar. The US-Qatar Business Council has a mission to support, develop, and enhance the bilateral commercial relationship between the United States and Qatar.