Kazan, Russia: Qatar is keen to enhance its trade and industry relations with Russia in diverse sectors including more collaboration between private sectors of the two countries, a top official has said.

Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) Mohammed bin Hassan Al Malki said the trade volume between Qatar and Russia was around $18m last year. Al Malki was speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of 15th KazanForum, which got underway in Kazan, Russia, yesterday.

“Before the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the trade volume was around $300 million. We are not satisfied with this number. We want to increase it really and see more cooperation between our private sector and the private sector in Russia and Kazan,” he said.

Al Malki added: “Trade between Qatar and Russia is mostly based on petrochemicals and energy. Qatari delegation’s participation in this expo is aimed to see what opportunities there are to expand this trade. We want to explore opportunities not only in the Halal food sector but also the opportunities available here in terms of real estate investments and utility investments. This is the 15th edition of the conference. Qatar has been participating in this event on a yearly basis.”

“One part [of Qatar’s participation] is to enhance economic collaboration between both countries. The other part is also good relationship between Qatar and Russia, especially Kazan,” the MoCI Undersecretary said.

Qatari delegation to the forum comprises officials from MoCI, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and other entities. On the sidelines of the event, Qatari officials held meetings with Russian officials and other participants in the event.

Representatives from Qatar Financial Centre and Investment Promotion Agency and other officials from Qatar are due to speak at different sessions of the forum, which runs until May 19.

Earlier, the 15th International Economic Forum “Russia-Islamic World: KazanForum” 2024 kicked off in the presence of top officials from Russia’s Tatarstan region as well as representatives from a number of Muslim countries and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Speaking at the opening of the forum and the associated “Russia Halal Expo”, Tatarstan Prime Minister Alexey Pesoshin said: “The Islamic world has always been and remains one of Russia’s most important partners in the world. In recent years, these relations have grown steadily and strongly. The trade turnover between Russia and the OIC countries has grown by 37% and amounted to more than $156bn.” 11 countries and 17 regions of Russia are part of the exhibition.

The forum’s theme this year is “Trust and Cooperation.” The main goal of the forum is to strengthen trade and economic, scientific and technical, social and cultural ties between Russian regions and the OIC countries, as well as to promote the development of the Islamic financial system institutions in Russia.

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