(MENAFN - Gulf Times)
Qatar considers Sri Lanka a major investment and trade partner in light of the economic capacities that distinguish the two countries, HE the Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani has said.
The agricultural sector will have a special place on the map of mutual cooperation in the coming phase, Sheikh Ahmed said while chairing the second session of the Qatari-Sri Lankan joint committee on economic, commercial and technical cooperation in Colombo on Tuesday.
The minister expressed the hope that the private sector and businessmen would further activate their relationship, 'enabling them to play a bigger role, and enter into investment partnerships that would enhance economic and investment cooperation between the two friendly countries.
Sheikh Ahmed said the Colombo meeting provided 'significant opportunity to build on the achievements of the recent Qatari-Sri Lankan Business Forum in Doha, adding that it 'reflects the keenness of the two countries to consolidate cooperation ties and take their joint objectives into practice.
He said the friendly relations between the two countries that date back to the mid-70s have contributed to the consolidation of cooperation between them on all fronts, especially in the fields of economy, trade and investments.
The volume of trade between the two sides amounted to about QR223mn in 2016, while some 210 Sri Lankan companies operate in Qatar with a joint Qatari-Sri Lankan capital of around QR45.5mn.
The minister also pointed to the agreements and memorandums of understanding signed between the two countries that cover many vital fields and have played an important role in promoting bilateral economic relations.
The minister noted the meeting took place at a time of 'illegal siege that was imposed on Qatar by its neighbouring countries and aimed to 'undermine the State of Qatar's position as an economically independent and sovereign country.
He said, 'The State of Qatar succeeded through Hamad Port to develop direct lines with a number of strategic ports and to benefit from the services provided by the national carrier, Qatar Airways to more than 150 destinations across the world, enhancing its openness to many global markets.
Sheikh Ahmed expressed the hope that the Qatari-Sri Lankan joint committee on economic, commercial and technical cooperation would contribute to reaching mechanisms that increased the volume of trade between the two countries. It would also 'establish effective plans to serve the common directions and goals in the field of investment and pave the way for the establishment of successful projects that benefit the two friendly countries.
Sheikh Ahmed said, 'For years, the State of Qatar has followed clear economic policies inspired by the wise vision of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, which aim to achieve the Qatar National Vision 2030 that works towards creating a knowledge-based diversified and competitive economy.
In this direction, Qatar issued laws and legislations that strengthen the private sector's contribution in the Qatari economy and provided an attractive investment environment for the different economic and trade projects. These laws give the opportunity to foreign investors to participate in all economic activities in Qatar by allowing them to own 49% of the invested capital with the possibility of increasing to 100% in specific fields such as agriculture, industry, health, education and tourism among others.
Qatar has developed economic, logistic and industrial areas that serve the needs of investors in addition to providing a network of highways connecting the main areas of the country.
Qatar also launched a unified portal for all of the investors' needs, developed the electronic services to establish companies and provided important investment incentives through the Qatar Financial Centre and the Qatar Science and Technology Park, he added.