Qatar Leans on Its Ties With Iran, Iraq to Attract Foreign Firms

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(Bloomberg) -- Qatar’s financial hub plans to use its deepening political and economic ties with Turkey, Iraq and Iran to attract foreign companies seeking business with those countries.

Yousuf Al Jaida, chief executive officer of the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, told Bloomberg TV that the logistics, political alliances and tax agreements makes Qatar an attractive “hub” to serve those countries, as well as Oman, Kuwait and Pakistan.

“Qatar can put a very generous incentive plan to tap into those new markets,” he said.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut economic and diplomatic ties with Qatar in June, accusing the country of financing terrorist groups and having close ties with Iran, charges Qatar rejects. The rift forced Qatar to shift import routes to Kuwait and Oman, and buy goods from Iran and Turkey.

Qatar has absorbed the shock of the embargo, and economic growth is expected to accelerate to 2.8 percent this year from 2.3 percent in 2017, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. After shoring up friendships in Western capitals, and billions in weapons purchases, Qatari officials have been touring U.S. and European cities to tell their story and attract investment.

Read more about Qatar’s investment road show in the U.S. last month.

Al Jaida spoke to Bloomberg in London, following visits to Madrid and Paris. Below are more highlights from his interview:

  • QFC, along with Qatar Investment Authority, has been reaching out to partners to explain the economic reforms and opportunities in “post-blockade Qatar”
  • The financial center is shifting focus from developing the local industry to becoming a regional hub
  • Companies registered at QFC have been recently granted access to Qatari government tenders, which dominate spending in the country

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