Free Trade Agreement Qatar

In 2014, Qatar was the GCC`s second most open trade market and produced 80% of the Heritage Foundation`s trade freedom index, ahead of Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Over the past decade, Qatar`s economy has experienced extensive liberalization, although it has been more progressive in terms of investment, reflecting the desire to protect local businesses and promote domestic industrialization. FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS: Qatar has made considerable progress in recent years in signing and adhering to new free trade agreements. In July 2014, there was talk of the possibility of creating a common free trade area with Iran, while Qatari officials also met with the Turkish Ministry of Finance to discuss a possible free trade agreement in February of that year. Sustainable development is a priority in the government`s trade and investment strategy. The Investment Act requires public authorities, when approving majority foreign ownership of a project, to ensure that it adapts to the broader development plans of the state, as led by Qatari National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030), which aims to increase economic diversification, stimulate non-oil growth, improve the value of the hydrocarbon sector and develop human capital. In a 2014 report on the investment climate, the U.S. State Department found that Qatar prioritized foreign investment in projects using local raw materials, manufacturing export products, creating new products, using innovative technologies, supporting knowledge transfer and improving human resources. In the construction sector, in line with Qatar`s diversification and development priorities in QNV 2030, large-scale contracts are generally awarded to joint ventures between foreign and local companies. The total value of FOB imports into the country increased by 8.5% in the second quarter of 2014 to QR 57.41 billion ($15.7 billion), compared to QR 52.9 billion ($14.5 billion) for the same period in 2013.

The MDPS attributes this situation to the increase in imports of machinery and motor vehicles, as the government is advancing a large number of infrastructure projects under QNV 2030. The total value of imports amounted to 98.13 billion euros in 2013. QR98.13 billion ($26.9 billion), QR 29.2 billion ($8 billion) of industrial goods, 20.2 billion QR ($5.5 billion) in transportation equipment and 13.27 billion QR ($3.6 billion) in consumer goods. Although imports have increased in recent years, particularly those of machinery and construction-related goods, export revenues, which have been largely generated by the oil and gas sector, have maintained the trade balance to Qatar`s benefit.

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