Kazan: Volume of trade in goods and services between Qatar and Russia grew 7.5% year-on-year and reached $91m in 2023, a Russian government official has said.

Pavel Kalmychek, Director of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development’s Department for the Development of Bilateral Cooperation, said bilateral trade is relatively low and a huge potential exists to increase it manifold. He was speaking at Russia-Qatar Business Dialogue, held as part of the 2024 KazanForum in Kazan, Russia.

“Qatar is a very important partner for us. We have built trusted relations with Qatar, and we have been cooperating with it for many years. Bilateral trade in products and services witnessed 7.5% growth year-on-year and reached $91m in 2023. Based on our prior experience of cooperation with Qatar and based on our experience of collaboration with other [countries] in the Gulf region, we understand that we can grow this number substantially, by many folds,” he said.

Inviting Qatari investments, he said, “We look at Qatar as an important investment partner, and especially considering that we have a regulatory framework in place; we have a bilateral agreement on the protection of capital investment, which guarantees investors stability and insurance.” He said Russia --- through its special economic zones, advanced economic zones in Russian Far East, and other projects --- offers investors a transparent tax regime and tax breaks, investor support when it comes to alleviation of administrative procedures, and capital investment protection guarantees.

“We also see opportunities in agriculture. Over the past three years, exports of agricultural products to Qatar grew threefold in physical terms, and Russian manufacturers have been ever more active and efficient in applying the best practices of Qatar.”

Pavel said tourism is another sector with potential for growth. “We are working on the so-called Halal tourism to make sure that our Qatari guests and tourists feel as comfortable as they can in the Russian Federation.”

Alexander Larin, Member of the General Council of Energotransproekt and Business Russia, who moderated the session, said: “With the ever-changing economic and political situation in the world, Russo-Qatar relations have been quite successful and they have been developing at a fast pace. As of today, the investment of Qatar into the Russian economy accounts for tens of billions of US dollars. And the trade turnover, according to statistics, has been growing; however, it’s still relatively low. There is a lot of room for mutual activity for bilateral relations. Russia and Qatar have a lot of joint projects in the pipeline. Our potential is much higher than the official numbers.”

He highlighted sectors such as agriculture, transport, logistics, R&D, and financial cooperation as areas with potential for growth in bilateral relations. “Qatar is at the forefront of scientific and technological development, urban development and quality of living … We have jointly in a short period of time managed to do a lot, but we can achieve more,” he said.

Speaking virtually, Ahmed Al Enazi, the Planning and Strategic Initiative Director at Qatar Science and Technology Park, said: “Qatar and Russia have a long history of collaboration in various fields including energy, trade, investment, culture and educational exchange. This collaboration has been beneficial for both countries and the economy of both countries. The natural evolution of this collaboration is to have more interaction in applied research, technology development and innovation, which is a key priority towards achieving Qatar’s vision to become an advanced society and have a sustainable and diversified economic growth. QSTP is a regular participant in many events in Russia including St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

“QSTP is also home to Rosneft International Center of Research and Development, a subsidiary of energy giant Rosneft. The center is engaging closely with wider ecosystem of Education City in Qatar.”

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