China-Qatar Bilateral Trade Up 45%
Recent figures released by Chinese Ambassador to Qatar, Gao Youzhen, reveal that bilateral trade between China and Qatar has increased by an astounding 45 percent, totaling $8.45 bn in 2012. The ambassador noted that China primarily imported oil and gas from Qatar, while exports to Qatar covered a wide range of products, including construction materials, electrical products, furniture and household items. Imports from Qatar amounted to $7.2 bn, while exports to the sovereign Arab state amounted to $1.2 bn.
Looking to the future, the two countries have signed a number of agreements aimed at promoting bilateral trade and investment, most notably in the aviation sector. While Qatar has established offices in Shanghai and Beijing to facilitate the growth in bilateral trade and investment, Chinese companies are involved in the development of the Doha Port in Qatar, as well as in the construction and development of the new, futuristic Lusail City, being promoted by developers as an ‘ambitious and ground breaking concept’. Noting that these are prestigious projects, Gao stated that China is happy to be a part of them.
Located on Barwa Commercial Avenue in Qatar’s capital city Doha, the Dubai-style Dragon Mart aims to open by the end of 2013, or at the latest, early 2014. Covering an area of 20,000 square meters the center will feature more than a hundred shops, all selling exclusively ‘Made in China’ products as the center becomes the gateway for Chinese goods into the rapidly developing region.
With a branch in Doha, China’s Industrial Commercial Bank of China Middle East is making inroads into Qatar’s financial sector, while agreements between the two countries will result in China becoming increasingly involved in Qatar’s development projects. Ambassador Gao Youzhen revealed that China has plans to open an international school in Qatar, and both countries are offering eligible students scholarships to pursue higher education in both China and Qatar. China has also opened offices in Doha for its state-run news agency Xinhau, as well as China Radio.