Growing Qatar – India Bilateral Relationships are Strategic and Special

Dr. R.Seetharaman participated in the CEO’s meeting with HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, The Emir of state of Qatar held on 25th March 2015 at Kamal Mahal Hotel ITC Maurya Sheraton, New Delhi. India. After this meeting Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank also moderated the session “Sovereign investment fund and investment fund opportunities” at Qatar India Join economic and Business meet which was held at the same premises.

Speaking at the conference Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on Qatar economy. He said “Qatar’s National Vision 2030 (QNV2030) builds on a society that promotes justice, benevolence and equality. Qatar, with its enlightened vision has brought a new set of governance. The 4 pillars of QNV 2030 are human development, social development, economic development & environmental development. It aims to propel Qatar forward by balancing the accomplishments that achieve economic growth with the human and natural resources. Qatar has also witnessed economic, social and political progression in recent years. Qatar’s economic growth is expected to rise to 7 percent this year and inflation at 3 percent. Private sector can play a key role in non – hydrocarbon diversification.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted the rationale for doing business in Qatar. He said “Qatar welcomes and encourages foreign participation through several attractive incentives. Non Qataris can do business in Qatar. Generally, foreign ownership up to 49% allowed. In many sectors e.g. manufacturing, education, health, tourism, power etc. 100% ownership allowed. S&P has affirmed its AA long-term and A-1+ short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Qatar with a “stable” outlook. Qatar ranked 16th in ‘the Global Competitiveness Report 2014-15.The creation of free trade zones and encouragement for setting up cross border economic activities can boost co-operation and confidence. “

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on bilateral trade between Qatar and India. He said “The bilateral relationships between Qatar and India are witnessing significant developments. Qatar India bilateral trade was at $16.7tn in 2013-14. Qatar’s major exports to India include Petrochemicals, LNG, fertilizers, Sulphur and Iron Pyrites. India is the third largest export destination for Qatar. Qatar’s major imports from India include accessories, manmade yarn, fabrics, made-ups, cotton yarn, transport equipment, machinery and instruments, food and construction materials. Qatar’s major imports from India has increased in recent years mainly from food and construction materials. India is also negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Qatar under the India – Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Framework Agreement.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted on hydro carbon trade between Qatar and India. He said “Qatar is the largest supplier of LNG to India. There is a large market for Qatar’s LNG, oil and petrochemical sectors in India. RasGas has entered into a 25 year 7.5 million tonnes per year sale and purchase agreement with Petronet and has been supplying the Indian market since 2004. In April 2014, Petronet had signed a short-term contract with Qatar’s Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Co to import 800,000 tonnes of LNG over 12 months to supply to refineries. In Dec 2014 India has received its biggest shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) through Q- Max LNG vessel, at Petronet LNG Ltd’s Dahej import terminal in Gujarat RasGas stands ready to assist Petronet in meeting India’s growing demand for eco-friendly fuel.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on India Investment Climate and Qatar’s Investment trends. He said “FDI inflows to India surged, increasing by about 26% to an estimated US$35 billion in 2014.The policies of India in recent years has given encouragement for FDI investment in sectors such as infrastructure, railways, insurance, medical and real estate. Qatar has a large portfolio of investments such as the Shard, the Olympic Village, the Shell Centre, the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, shareholdings in Barclays, Sainsbury’s and BAA, as well as ownership of Harrods and Chelsea Barracks. In recent years Qatar has start diversifying its investments in the Asian Region. Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) holds $2.7 billion worth of shares of Agriculture Bank of China and has spent $616 million on a 19.9 percent stake in Lifestyle International Holdings, a department operator in Hong Kong and mainland China. Qatar’s sovereign-wealth fund plans to set up a $10 billion investment venture with China’s Citic Group. In 2013 Qatar Foundation Endowment has agreed to invest $1.26bn in Indian telecommunications company, Bharti Airtel for a 5% stake. Qatar has also evidenced interest in India’s Smart City project with focus of this investment on 10 smart-city projects in a first phase, besides power, solar energy, infrastructure development, health care and education. The Qatar India bilateral relationships in trade and investments are expected to surge in coming years and the growing Qatar- India bilateral relationships are strategic and special.”