12/12/2018 06:56 AST

The sixth session of the Joint Qatari-Iraqi Committee for Economic, Trade and Technical Cooperation was held yesterday. Minister of Commerce and Industry H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari and Dr. Mohammed Hashim Abdul Majeed Al Ani, Iraq’s Minister of Trade, who is visiting Doha, co-chaired the session.

H E Al Kuwari highlighted Qatar’s friendly relations with Iraq, noting that the long history of geographical and cultural ties serves as an incentive for both countries to promote and bolster cooperation on the economic, trade and investment levels. The Minister said both countries have an interest in developing the appropriate environment to bolster bilateral trade, which amounted to QR370m in 2017.

H E Al Kuwari voiced hope that the joint committee will develop concrete mechanisms to promote bilateral trade and investments, and pave the way for agreements that will contribute to strengthening and transforming Qatari-Iraqi ties into a comprehensive strategic partnership. In this context, H E Al Kuwari called on Iraq to become party to the memorandum of understanding on Facilitating Transport and Transit Traffic to Strengthen Economic and Trade Cooperation that was signed last year between Qatar, Turkey and Iran. He noted that the MoU represents an important step towards eliminating trade obstacles.

H E Al Kuwari also emphasized the importance of signing a Free Trade Agreement, and an agreement on promoting and protecting mutual investments. Such efforts will contribute to promoting trade, and incentivise both the Qatari and Iraqi business sectors to establish joint investment projects to the benefit of both countries, he said.

Touching on Qatar’s investment environment, H E Al Kuwari revealed that the State has accelerated the implementation of necessary measures to develop the country’s investment environment. Iraqi companies seeking to invest in Qatar can benefit from incentives and services offered within Free Zones to establish specialized companies in the pharmaceutical, food and logistics sectors, the Minister said and added that foreign companies targeting the Iraqi market can also set up their industrial facilities in Free Zones across Qatar to export their products to the Iraqi market, or tap new markets in the region.

He noted that Qatar is also currently working on the development of logistics and industrial areas to meet the needs of investors, enhance the supply chain and reduce the cost of warehousing services.

H E Al Kuwari noted that the sixth session of the joint Qatari-Iraqi committee comes amid regional and global uncertainties that require both countries to pursue efforts to bolster cooperation prospects on the trade and investment levels. The Minister said that the Qatari and Iraqi business sectors play a key role in the establishment of joint industrial and investment projects in sectors that contribute to the development of both countries.

During the meeting, Qatari and Iraqi officials discussed progress in terms of the implementation of the committee’s fifth session recommendations, current projects and expansion plans. H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari and Dr. Mohammed Hashim Abdul Majeed Al Ani, concluded the talks by signing the minutes of the meeting.

They also attended the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote cooperation between the Diplomatic Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Services Institute of Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The MoU aims at establishing and developing cooperation between the two institutes through the exchange of programs, information and events in the field of diplomatic training and related fields. They also attended the signing of an agreement to establish a Qatari-Iraqi Business Council, as well as a MoU between Qatar Chamber and the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce. Mohammed bin Ahmed Towar Al Kuwari, Qatar Chamber First Vice-Chairman, and Damer Zaidan Makhlaf Al Ameen, Member of the Iraqi Federation Chambers of Commerce and Chairman of the Saladin Chamber of Commerce, co-signed the agreement on the establishment of the Business Council. The agreement aims at promoting ties between Qatari and Iraqi businessmen, boosting cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, technology transfer and service provision.

Mohammed bin Ahmed Towar Al Kuwari and Damer Zaidan Makhlaf Al Ameen also co-signed a MoU between Qatar Chamber and the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce, and an MoU aimed at promoting economic cooperation and diversifying bilateral trade.

The committee’s meeting brought together representatives from Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Culture and Sports, Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor, Social Affairs, Ministry of Public Health, Qatar Central Bank, Qatar Chamber, Public Works Authority and Qatar Development Bank.

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