*Time has come to take the partnership to even new high levels, says the minister
Qatari investors are looking at India as “important investment destination”, given the “strong growth prospects” for the country’s economy in the coming years, said HE the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Sultan bin Saad al-Muraikhi.
“Underpinned by long standing bilateral trade and people to people contact, Qatar–India relationship is deep rooted and goes back to several centuries,” al-Muraikhi said in his opening address at the Qatar-India Business and Investment Conference at the Rotana City Center Hotel yesterday. “Time has come to take our partnership to even new high levels,” al-Muraikhi said.
The minister noted, “Today’s conference comes at a time when Qatar seeks to further open up for further foreign investments and joins its great partners to cement its position as a regional investment and trade hub, which offers investors unique incentives and facilities to tap local and regional markets.”
Al-Muraikhi hoped the conference would focus on ways to further enhance bilateral co-operation between Qatar and India in sectors such as energy, infrastructure, health, education, human resources, media and information technology.
“The presence of a strong Indian business community here will act as a catalyst to this process. Their experience in the Qatari market and their intimate knowledge of the local business environment here will be important factors,” he said.
The Minister noted that Qatar recently established a new world-scale Hamad Port. It is also in the process of establishing a free zone, in addition to four new logistic zones, which will reduce the cost of warehousing and supply chain for investors who choose to set up businesses in Qatar.
Currently, the Hamad Port accounts for nearly 27% of the regional trade volume, with an expected annual capacity of 7.5mn cargo containers.
The Hamad Port connects shipping routes to many nations around the world, including India. The establishment of two-way shipping lines with India last year has resultedin a boost to the bilateral trade by improving efficiency, al-Muraikhi said.
Qatar is also home to the Hamad International Airport (HIA), one of the largest in the region. The HIA has a capacity to handle more than 30mn passengers a year and connects to more than 150 destinations.
“We are also in the process of simplifying our tax law and procedures to offer better deals for investors. A public–private partnership (PPP) law is also being finalised, which will promote Qatar as a knowledge-based economy and regional hub for trade in hi-tech value added goods and services.
“Qatar has been able to diversify its economy and its success has been reflected on various international indicators. Qatar’s expanding trade relations and attractive business environment have positively impacted on our economic and commercial partnership with India."
Al-Muraikhi said, “Recognising the importance of our partnership, it has been decided to set up the Qatari-Indian Joint Business Council; and we are in the process of nominating the representatives on both sides.
“I am happy to note that our bilateral trade has witnessed a significant jump in recent months and the trend is likely to continue in the foreseeable future.”
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