12/10/2017 07:01 AST

Qatar-US bilateral trade is witnessing steady growth over the last several years. The volume of two-way trade exchange reached $6bn (QR21.85bn) in 2016 making the US Qatar’s sixth largest trading partner, said a top official of Doha Bank at an event in New York.

The US exports to Qatar mainly consisted of aircraft, vehicles, electrical machinery and optical medical instruments. US imports from Qatar mainly fuel and fertilizers.

Dr R Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank was speaking at a knowledge sharing session on ‘Qatar-US Bilateral Opportunities’ hosted by Doha Bank held at Hotel Metropolitan, New York on Tuesday. The event was well attended by leading Corporates who were keen to hear more about US-Qatar bilateral relationships and to explore further business opportunities with Doha Bank.

Dr Seetharaman, providing an insight on the global economic outlook, said: “According to IMF July 2017 Outlook, economic activity in both advanced economies and emerging and developing economies is forecast to accelerate in 2017, to 2 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, with global growth projected to be 3.5 percent. Current global growth prospects are encouraging, though the pace of growth is still weaker than desirable.”

He said “US economy had expanded at an annual rate of 3 percent in the second quarter of the year. US economic growth will take a mild hit in the third quarter from Hurricane Harvey and Irma. The US economy lost 33,000 jobs in September even as the unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent. Despite this Federal Reserve policymakers have recently signaled they continue to see gradual US interest-rate hikes ahead.

On Qatar-US economic relations, he noted that in October 2015 Qatar and the US have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish economic and investment dialogue. In August 2016 Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund made an $622m purchase, a stake in the company that owns New York’s Empire State Building. In June 2017 the United States and Qatar have signed a deal for the purchase of F-15 fighter jets with an initial cost of $12bn.

“Building on the nearly $26bn invested in the US since 2015, Qatar Investment Authority has committed to investing another $10bn and expanding the portfolio to include infrastructure projects. Qatar-US Bilateral relationships witness a surge,” Seetharaman said.

Highlighting details of the recent developments in Qatar, he added that Qatar will raise LNG production by 30 percent to 100 million tonnes per annum within five to seven years after lifting a moratorium on gas development earlier this year.

“Qatar ranked 18th in ‘the Global Competitiveness Report 2016-17’ and stands second in the region. A new law for Public Private Partnership (PPP) businesses in Qatar should provide an additional level of comfort to the private sector and foreign investors. Qatar Lending growth till August 2017 was more than 6 percent YTD and deposit growth was more than 9 percent YTD in 2017,” he said.

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