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US investor confidence in Qatar market ‘remains high’, says USQBC official

Peter Alagos

Saturday، 17 October 2020 07:57 PM

US investor confidence in Qatar continues to increase, according to an official of the US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC), who cited reforms and laws aimed at attracting foreign direct investments (FDI) and Qatar’s resiliency against an economic blockade and Covid-19.
Following the third Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue held in Washington, DC, last month, “many US companies had expressed interest in doing business in Qatar and to export their products and services to the Qatari market,” said USQBC managing director Mohamed Barakat.
On the resiliency of the Qatari economy, Barakat stressed that Qatar was able to withstand two major headwinds – the 2017 blockade and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Qatar’s achievements and resiliency amidst these two challenges boost investor confidence, which is an important indicator of the strength of a country’s economy. Qatar continues to invest within the country and abroad, such as in the US and in Europe; when US investors look at that (investing both locally and abroad) they know that the country has a strong economy,” Barakat told Gulf Times in a virtual interview.
“Qatar has continued to pour investments across different sectors, such as construction and infrastructure, hospitality, sports, health, and education, among others. This country has the ability and strength to boost its economy. To be part of a moving and powerful economy is usually what investors are looking for,” he said.
Barakat also lauded the government’s decision to pass new laws aimed at attracting FDI inflows to Qatar, citing the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Law and the foreign ownership law, as well as reforms in Qatar’s labour law.
“These laws play a significant role in encouraging more American businesses to come in; they can import their skilled labour or white-collar employees or senior management. And knowing that the Qatari market will provide its own skilled labour with the ease of transition from one project to another will increase investor appetite and will raise the score for ease of doing business in Qatar,” Barakat pointed out.
Barakat also said the USQBC has observed an “increased interest” among US small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on the Qatari market based on inquiries and from past and current events organised by the council.
“We’ve seen an uptick in interest from American businesses, such as food suppliers, small manufacturing companies, technology and software firms, companies specialising in security products, considering that the 2022 FIFA World Cup is barely two years away.
“Conversely, we’ve also seen an increase in interest among Qatari SMEs; they are asking our help for either locating in the US or by partnering with an American company,” Barakat said.

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