The Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) recently held a business lunch in honour of the visit of Jose Fernandez, US assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, in the presence of Suzanne Ziadeh, US ambassador to Qatar, along with the political and economic attachés of the embassy.
Fernandez leads the bureau responsible for overseeing work on international trade and investment policy; international finance, development, and debt policy; economic sanctions and combating terrorist financing; international energy security policy; international telecommunications and transportation policies; and support for US businesses and the private sector overseas.
The meeting was attended by Sheikh Khalid bin Thani al-Thani, second deputy to the chairman QBA; Issa Abu Issa, secretary general; Sheikh Hamad bin Faisal al-Thani, QBA board member; Sheikh Nawaf bin Nasser al-Thani, QBA board member; Sherida al-Kaabi, QBA board member; along with the distinguished QBA members Khalid Ahmed Mannai, Nabil Abu Issa, Maqbool Habib Khalfan, and Nasser
Fernandez explained the objectives of his visit, which are complementary to previous visits of many ministers and delegations of US businessmen who are interested in exploring business partnership opportunities with their Qatari counterparts, where the US investment ratio is considered the largest foreign investment in Doha.
Both parties discussed the importance of the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in Qatar.
Fernandez stressed the importance of such companies in the development of the US economy, creating many job opportunities, since it employs more than 50% of the employees and workers of the private sector, and secures 30% of US exports.
“SMEs are an important source of innovation processes, products, and services and can be more efficient at producing innovation than large firms. They also provide important opportunities for all US citizens to develop entrepreneurial skills,” he added.
The members informed the delegation that Qatar recognises the important role of these companies in expanding the economic performance of developing and developed countries alike, and hence has undertaken several initiatives towards the development of this vital sector, including the launch of an emerging market for SMEs, which is considered a significant step in diversifying the Qatari economy, supporting the national economy and the achievement of Qatar National Vision 2030.
Fernandez invited the Qatari companies to engage with their US counterparts where they can benefit from their leading experience in this area, and added that the sectors of education, health and technology are a priority in the development of relations between the two countries.
In addition, he praised the successes achieved by US firms in the Qatari market, and called for the development of relations between the chambers of commerce in both countries, and the Qatari Businessmen Association and investment institutions to invest in US, in order to achieve maximum benefit from the experiences of USA.
The members of the association stressed on the importance of taking advantage of the significant growth in trade relations between the two countries during this period, and the readiness to promote co-operation and interaction between businessmen and representatives of the private sector in Qatar and the United States.
Consequently, the association plays a vital role in facilitating the communication between the business communities in both countries, and said that it is willing to co-operate with the institutions to encourage investment firms representing the US private sector, so as to promote further economic interaction and trade between the two countries, where Qatar offers incentives to encourage investment.
The organisation of Qatar for the World Cup 2022, additionally, will contribute to the diversification of local and regional economies, and enhance the contribution of SMEs in GDP and create more opportunities for investors, and strengthen the role of this kind of small and medium enterprises in the economic cycle.
At the end of the meeting, Fernandez thanked the members of the association for hosting this luncheon, and wished for the continuity of the friendly relations between the two countries, and he invited the members of the association to visit the US, as it is rich with opportunities and possibilities of trade and investment in various commercial and industrial sectors.
Qatar is currently the fifth largest destination for US exports in the Middle East, since the volume of imports from the United States reaches approximately $2.7bn for 2011, whereas the volume of exports to the United States has increased up to $1.2bn for 2011 in comparison to 2010, where it reached $466mn.
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