Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, and other issues that affect trade.
The U.S. and Qatar enjoy a strong commercial, economic, political, and security relationship. gross domestic product (GDP) Even though Qatar has just 300,000 citizens, it enjoys one of the highest GDP per capita in the world and looks to overseas partners to achieve strategic goals, creating opportunities for U.S. businesses. the International Monetary Fund estimates Qatar’s real GDP growth will rebound to 5% in 2021. U.S. exports to Qatar increased by 47.7% from 2018 to 2019, totaling $6.5 billion in 2019. U.S. companies performed well in the market, particularly in the energy, defense, technology, and engineering sectors, among others.
Despite Covid-19 macroeconomic contractions, Qatar remains among the most fiscally stable markets in the Gulf. In April 2020, Moody’s labeled Qatar’s currency peg as “credible” thanks to the GOQ’s solid asset buffers, which include over $35 billion in net international reserves at Qatar Central Bank and $30 billion worth of liquid assets, in addition to the more than $300 billion in assets held by the country’s sovereign wealth fund, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Qatar’s strong fundamentals have helped boost confidence in the Qatari riyal and have enabled the country to maintain its currency peg to the U.S. dollar, the only currency regime in the GCC region not to come under stress during the double crisis of rock bottom oil prices and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Qatari government has continued its focus on initiatives and efforts to diversify the economy and reduce excess spending, under the plan known as Qatar National Vision 2030. Qatar’s infrastructure and transportation sector has been a key focus of spending in recent years, with projects such as the Hamad International Airport expansion, the last phase of the new Hamad Port, numerous road and highways projects, and the creation of the Doha Metro train network (three lines). In addition to supporting Vision 2030, these projects are timely and near completion as Qatar prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the world’s largest sporting event. The 2020 national budget priority shifted from hard infrastructure toward Vision 2030’s goals for education and healthcare infrastructure, in addition to initiatives supporting Qatar’s already robust efforts and achievements to reduce dependency on foreign-produced food. These initiatives will likely be bolstered by the new law governing Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), which the Amir signed on May 31, 2020. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) has led efforts on the PPP law, along with other agencies including the Ministry of Finance.
Qatar has proven its resiliency in recent years, despite regional unrest and the Gulf Rift. On June 5, 2017, the governments of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt severed diplomatic and trade relations with the State of Qatar and imposed a series of travel, trade, and economic restrictions, including closing the Saudi