Qatar, Ukraine bilateral trade scaling up, says al-Kuwari

Agreements and memoranda of understanding in trade and investment played a key role in bolstering bilateral trade between Qatar and Ukraine, which reached QR257.6mn in 2017, said HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari. He was speaking after co-chairing the two-day first session of the joint Qatari-Ukrainian Committee for Economic, Commercial and Technical Cooperation, which concluded here yesterday. The Ukrainian side was led by the country’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Trade Stepan Kubiv. The first session brought together representatives of government bodies concerned, including the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Municipalities and Environment, and Ministry of Public Health, along with officials from the Qatar Central Bank, Public Works Authority (Ashghal) and the General Authority for Civil Aviation.

Qatar and Ukraine have enjoyed more than 25 years of friendly relations that reflect the keenness of senior Qatari and Ukrainian leaders to strengthen co-operation across various fields, the minister said. Al-Kuwari praised the role that private sector companies from both countries were playing in terms of supporting Qatar’s economy. Some 39 companies, jointly owned by Qatari and Ukrainian citizens are currently operating in Qatar.The minister said he looked forward to “co-operating with his Ukrainian counterparts to strengthen partnerships on all levels in line with the aspirations of both countries in a bid contribute to the development of innovative areas of co-operation.” On Qatar’s economy, the minister said, “Qatar has succeeded in maintaining balanced growth thanks to the integrated policies adopted by Qatar’s wise leadership, which has stimulated various sectors, particularly industry, whose increased productivity contributes to Qatar’s self-sufficiency in the food and pharmaceutical industries.”

Qatar has sought to bolster the export capabilities of manufacturing companies and to strengthen their relations with key trading partners around the world, in addition to developing a business-friendly environment to attract foreign direct investments.  Currently, Qatar ranks among the most investment-friendly regional economies thanks to the country’s strategic position as a trade hub, the minister said, noting that Qatar welcomes foreign investors seeking to benefit from a sophisticated and tax-free business environment that offers numerous other investment incentives such as allowing up to 100% foreign ownership across all sectors and economic and trade activities. Elaborating on Qatar’s legislative environment, al-Kuwari said Qatar recently approved the necessary measures to issue a law regulating the investment of non-Qatari capital in economic activity, which represents an important step in terms of attracting foreign investors into the Qatari market, protecting them against the risks of side agreements, and cracking down on commercial concealment.

Qatar has also amended its investment free zones to remove all barriers and restrictions as well as to facilitate the introduction of modern technologies into investment projects.  The government is also bolstering spending on sustainable projects including the development of state-of-the-art infrastructure in line with the highest international standards.  These include a world-class airport, which will soon achieve 50mn passenger capacity, and a leading air carrier that serves more than 150 destinations.Hamad Port, south of Doha, is another example of Qatar’s determination to speed up the implementation of major development projects, the minister noted.

Hamad Port currently accounts for 27% of the trade volume in the Middle East, the minister said said, noting that the port’s large capacity, which can reach 7.5mn containers annually, has played a key role in linking Qatar with key trading partners through direct shipping lines that have cemented the country’s position as a transit point for trade in the region and around the world. These efforts have reflected positively on economic growth rates, the minister said, noting that Qatar’s GDP reached 1.6% at constant prices in 2017.  Qatar’s foreign trade also grew by 16% last year, driven by an 18% increase in Qatari exports, which resulted in a trade surplus of 49.9% in 2017.

Global economic institutions have praised Qatar’s development policies, which have reflected positively on the country’s ranking in numerous reports by international agencies, including the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2018. 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). Al-Kuwari concluded his remarks by reiterating that the committee’s first meeting represents an important step in promoting Qatari-Ukrainian co-operation and reflects both countries’ keenness on bolstering trade and encouraging the private sector in both countries to establish joint investment projects.

Sources and photo-credits: Gulf Times