Washington DC / Information Office / June 29
HE Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani spoke about the importance of the US-Qatar economic partnership at a meeting with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today.
HE CEO of the Qatar Investment Authority Sheikh Abdulla Bin Mohammed Al-Thani, and HE Emir Advisor on Investment Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Bin Hamad Al-Thani also attended the meeting.
The Foreign Minister also addressed issues relating to the current diplomatic, economic and social blockade of Qatar by four Arab nations.
His Excellency reassured the invited guests that the fundamentals of the Qatari economy are strong and resilient. Qatari banks are well capitalized and have sufficient liquidity, he told them, and Qatar's international investment portfolio is well diversified. Qatar's credit rating remains among the top 25 in the world, the Foreign Minister observed, even after recent adjustments.
"Our global investments have resulted in strong economic growth and have produced jobs in the US and across Europe, as well as solid returns for Qatar," His Excellency told the Chamber. "Thats a clear win-win for Qatar and its international partners," he said.
The Foreign Minister noted that the blockade was having a minimal impact on Qatar's exports. Shipments of LNG, oil, petrochemicals and other commodities continue uninterrupted, he said, because exports to Japan, India, South Korea and China, which account for nearly three-quarters of Qatars export volume, are all countries unaffected by the blockade. In addition, imports via Hamad Port, one of the largest deep-water ports in the region, and via Hamad International Airport, one of the most modern airports in the world, have not been affected, the Minister said.
"You can be sure that Qatar will continue to strengthen and promote our business and commercial relationship with the United States," the Foreign Minister told the Chamber audience. "Our bilateral trade with the U.S. has increased by more than 32 percent since 2012 and we expect to see further increases in the coming years."
HE Sheikh Abdulla Al-Thani provided an update to the business leaders on the $35 billion investment in the US over 5 years pledged in 2015. "We've already invested $26 billion," he said, "and we are looking to invest $10 billion more in the US infrastructure sector." He also indicated that we have strong belief on the fundamentals of the US economy therefore QIA focuses on building a strong partnership and expanding the investment program. Moreover, he also discussed plans to open a QIA office in San Francisco in addition to the one in New York. Signifying that these expansions are a sign of strengthening the Qatar-US relations. The announcement makes QIA one of the few sovereign wealth funds with offices in New York and San Francisco
The event was hosted by The Honorable Tim Lenderking, Assistant Secretary for Arabian Peninsula Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the US State Department, who delivered the opening remarks. Guests in attendance included Jared Thomas, Director of the Middle East and Africa at Lockheed Martin; Amanda Horan, Vice President of International Government Relations at MetLife; Daeman Harris, Senior Director of Government Affairs at Occidental Petroleum; Michael Hershman, President and Founder of The Fairfax Group; Tom Kelly, Vice President, Foreign Policy & National Security Affairs at Raytheon International; Dr. Raj Singh, Chairman & CEO of Telcom Ventures; Khush Choksy, Senior Vice President for Middle East and Turkey Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce; and Steve Lutes, Executive Director, Middle East at the US Chamber of Commerce.