CBCQDoha Bank & Canadian Business Council in Qatar (CBCQ) hosted a knowledge sharing session on “Qatar Economic and Financial Outlook” at Doha Bank HO on 16th Jan 2019. The event was well attended by leading Corporates who were keen to hear more about Canada - Qatar bilateral relationships and to explore further business opportunities with Doha Bank.

The introduction of CBCQ was given by Mr. Jeffrey Asselstine, Managing Director Nelson Park Property LLC. This was followed by CNAQ Success story by Mr. David Himmelman Dean – School of Business Studies College of North Atlantic – Qatar.

Dr. R.Seetharaman, CEO, Doha Bank was the Keynote speaker and gave insight on global economies. He said “Growth in advanced economies will remain well above trend at 2.4 percent in 2018, before softening to 2.1 percent in 2019. Growth in the emerging market and developing economy group is set to remain steady at 4.7 percent in 2018–19. Concerns of Global trade, Brexit developments, High levels of corporate and sovereign debt, Fed tightening and volatile financial markets will continue in 2019.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on the recent developments in Qatar. He said “Qatar expected to grow by 2.7% in 2018 and 2.8% in 2019 respectively.  The Governor of Qatar Central Bank (QCB) H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Saoud Al Thani stated that the international reserves at the Bank amounted to QR144.7bn by the end of April 2018. In February 2018 Qatar announced plans to increase liquefied natural gas production capacity. In September 2018 this was increased further to 43% from 77 to 110 MTPA. In Dec 2018  S&P Global Ratings announced that it has revised its outlook on Qatar to stable from negative. Health, education and infrastructure accounted for the largest share of the 2019 budget. The Global Competitiveness Report 2018 states that Qatar has improved its rank by two places from last year’s 32nd place to 30th Place out of 135 countries. Qatar is ranked 83 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. The Doha Metro Project will get ready by 2020, providing the residents a chance to ride trains that are among the fastest in the region. The first Free Zone in Qatar, Umm Al Houl Free Zone, located next to Hamad International Port, will be ready to receive local and foreign investors during the first quarter of 2019. The economic zones aim at providing a level of an economic security in terms of free flow of goods to the state and the local market, in addition to supporting the process of economic diversification by strengthening the GDP and attracting investors from around the world to add to the process of economic diversification. The Gulf is basically an importing region with large trade deficits outside oil. So there are no reasons for other countries to impose tariffs on its exports and definitely the region does not have any interest in imposing tariffs on its imports. But there will be some indirect second-round effects on the region through a few channels if global trade tensions persists. General Tax Authority (GTA) has been established as a separate entity, under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance in Jan 2019.

Dr. R.Seetharaman, CEO gave insight on Qatar Canada Bilateral relationships. He said “Qatar’s merchandise trade with Canada has was at 134M US$ in 2017. Major imports from Qatar by Canada are mineral products and chemicals. Major exports to Qatar by Canada are plastics, Vehicles and machinery items. Qatar has invested more than $500-million in Canada. Many Canadian businesses operate in Qatar. EllisDon’s $200-million contract in Lusail City overseeing a $3-billion real estate development project strengthens Canada’s brand in Qatar. Other Canadian organizations with operations in Qatar include Bombardier, SNC Lavalin, Stantec, the College of North Atlantic, University of Calgary and Tim Hortons. Canadian exports of services are significant with Canadian companies providing services in areas such as architecture, construction, education, engineering, health, legal and project-management services. Canada can participate in Qatar’s infrastructure. Canada can participate in Qatar’s food security. Canada can further go deeper on the education sector with Qatar. Synergistic opportunities between Qatar and Canada prevail. ”

Mr. Ahmad Hafez, Director Refinitiv / Thomson Reuters was the Moderator of the Session which witnessed Question and Answer Session from the audience followed by a Dinner.