Interview: Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani
What role will promoting international visibility play in strengthening the “Made in Qatar” brand abroad?
SHEIKH KHALIFA BIN JASSIM BIN MOHAMMED AL THANI: Qatar’s international presence plays a significant role in promoting the country as a destination for business, investment and the source of Qatari-manufactured products abroad. Visibility has been strengthened through trade missions, participation in trade exhibitions and cementing cooperation with other countries. Cooperation is facilitated by receiving visiting trade delegations that explore the market and establish local economic ties. Qatari businessmen also arrange tours to review methods that expand trade cooperation and create partnerships with business sectors in other countries. In 2018 some 100 foreign business delegations visited Qatar Chamber to explore new ways to cooperate. Qatar also participates in exhibitions and trade fairs that showcase Qatari manufacturers and identify new global opportunities.
How can international investment help promote growth in capital-intensive sectors?
SHEIKH KHALIFA: International investments in any country can improve capital-intensive sectors and boost the economy. Sectors that require large amounts of capital to start and operate, such as construction and real estate development, are then able to access a global network of investors to enhance their financial standing and long-term sustainability. Inward investments help foreign capital inflow and push broader economical development.
Qatar’s outward foreign direct investment plays a major role in economic development and diversification through significant investments abroad. For example, Qatar Investment Authority has made international investments in real and financial assets including stocks, bonds and real estate, as well as alternative investments in private equity. Inward and outward investments allow Qatar to both reduce its dependence on oil and gas and support the economy’s standing internationally.
As the economic contribution of the private sector grows, what changes are expected to optimise Qatar’s regulatory environment?
SHEIKH KHALIFA: The government has implemented a number of legislative reforms and measures to simplify the business environment, attract further investment, and provide incentives to increase private sector production. This includes Law No. 1 of 2019 that allows foreign investors to own 100% of shares in a Qatari business across most economic sectors, and up to 49% in Qatari companies listed on the Qatar Exchange. Qatar has also implemented a law that allows visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries, as well as amendments to the labour and residency law and the draft of the public-private partnership law. These reforms provide incentives that benefit the private sector and small and medium-sized enterprises in particular.
How will improvements to registration and documentation streamline import and export processes?
SHEIKH KHALIFA: Improvements to import-export procedures include upgrading the Qatar Chamber website to act as a platform to interact with local businessmen, improving communication and feedback on challenges they face. We also developed our services – particularly those available online – to allow some private companies to digitally attest certain documents, including the certificate of origin. The international Customs and temporary export-import document system allows the import of goods for up to one year without the obligation to take any fees, taxes or Customs procedures. The system covers all goods, provided that they are re-exported and imported during the period approved by the Customs authorities. The implementation of this system in cooperation with the General Authority of Customs and the International Chamber of Commerce in Qatar is an important step that will enhance Qatar’s status as an attractive investment destination and a global centre for trade and business.
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