DOHA: Qatar's private sector is the key driver in the country's endeavour to transform its economy into knowledge-based in line with the ambitious 2030 National Vision, Minister of Economy and Commerce H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani.
Sheikh Ahmed was addressing the US-Qatar trade and investment council meeting in Washington. The Qatari delegation included representatives from the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Finance, the General Authority of Customs, and the Qatar Investment Authority, as well as representatives of the private sector.
The Minister noted that the contribution of non-oil sector in GDP rose from 42 percent in 2010 to about 50 percent over the past year, and the non-oil sector played a key role in the economic growth in the state during the period from 2011 to 2015.
Highlighting the importance of the ties of friendship existing between and the United States of America, the minister said Qatar is looking forward to further advancement and promotion of economic, commercial and investment cooperation between the two countries. "The strong, friendly and economic partnership between Qatar and the United States has achieved remarkable economic growth and increased trade volume. The total trade volume between the two countries reached $4.5bn in 2015," he said.
On Monday, Sheikh Ahmed and Dan Mullaney, Assistant Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East conducted a private sector roundtable to discuss vital issues in the US and Qatar's bilateral business relationship.
Mullaney opened the roundtable, reiterating the importance of such private-government engagements when developing government frameworks designed to increase bilateral trade and investment. "We are developing the framework for the economic relationship, but in order to do that properly we need to hear from the private sector," said Mullaney.
Shiekh Ahmed hailed the role being played by the US-Qatar Business Council in the bilateral relationship.
"The US-Qatar Business Council is a very important Council for increasing trade... We would like to see the US-Qatar Business Council play a much greater role in the bilateral relationship," he said.
"Qatar wants to know how to make it easier for foreign direct investments. We want economic partners from around the world and especially from the US."
Discussion during the roundtable focused primarily on methods for easing the process of trade and investment into Qatar, international standards compliance, and exclusivity laws for some industries.
This roundtable served as part of the US-Qatar Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meetings over the next several days that cover a wide range of issues related to trade and investment regarding international partners.
"Our members always enjoy being able to discuss trade and investment issues with visiting Qatari delegations because it provides them with the crucial information they need to not only grow their businesses, but also the Qatari and American economies," said Ambassador Patrick Theros, the president of the US-Qatar Business Council.
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