Minister of economy and commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed al-Thani
Doha - QNA
HE the Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Thani Wednesday called for completing negotiations for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between GCC states and Turkey.
HE the minister said this in his address to the tenth edition of Turkish-Arab Economic Forum that opened in Istanbul today.
Hailing Turkish-Arab states' business and trade ties, he said, "The volume of trade and mutual investments between Arab states and Turkey has increased due to the package of measures that have removed hurdles hindering growth." The volume of trade between Turkey and Arab countries was $ 45.26 Billion in 2014, he said and lauded Turkey for being the world's 17th and Europe's sixth largest economy.
Turkish-Arab mutual trade and investment is thriving not because Turkey is an Islamic country, but based on its strong economy and growth during the last decade, he told the gathering.
He highlighted the positive role played by Turkish companies in Qatar's infrastructure development projects like construction of bridges, roads and utilities.
More companies from Turkey are welcome to Doha since Qatar is poised to complete mega projects as part of its 2011-20116 development strategy and large-scale projects ahead of hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022, he said.
HE the Minister stressed that Qatar implements its plans and projects irrespective of fluctuations in oil prices. The State is clear about achieving its 2030 National Vision by diversifying its economy and relying only on oil and gas resources. Plans are currently being implemented with results expected in 2016, he said.
Among Qatar's priorities to spur the economy is encouraging the private sector to join developmental projects and push Small and Medium Enterprises for greater participation, he said.
Qatar's Ministry of Economy and Commerce, International Co-operation and Trade Agreements Researcher Ahmed Issa Sulaiti made a presentation at the Turkish-Arab Economic Forum that highlighted Qatar's favourable investment environment.
He told the Forum how Qatar's economy has grown over the past year with the per capita income reaching US $ 101,513 and unemployment was limited to 0.5% last year.
Foreign investors can open fully-owned branches of banks and insurance companies at the Qatar Financial Center, he said and pointed out to the many business opportunities in large projects like the New Doha Port, Qatar Railway, Lusail City and building sports infrastructure to host FIFA World Cup in 2002.
Giving a comprehensive picture of the favourable business environment he told the Forum, the Government of Qatar grants foreign investors tax exemptions, funding flexibility and no tax on income.
Participants at the Forum are mulling issues and ways to enhance business and trade ties between Arab states and Turkey under changing political and economic situation in the region.
The gathering also reviewed business and investment opportunities in Turkey's infrastructure projects, financial sector and Islamic banking instruments, agriculture, industry, energy, real estate and tourism.
The two-day Forum is also discussing economic challenges confronting Turkey and the Arab countries.