Category: Qatar-American relationships

US-Qatar Trade Relations

qatarRelations between America and Qatar have historically been bilateral, putting them in the category of bilateral allies.  Following its break from the UK in 1972, the US set up diplomatic relations with Qatar, today making them valuable partners, with Qatar being supportive of America’s transformation.  As well, the regions work together on maintaining security in the Persian Gulf.

At the recent US-Qatar trade and investment council meeting that took place in Washington, Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed pointed out how the increase in GDP of the contribution of the non-oil sector.  The escalation was around 8 percent from 2010 to 2015.  Ahmed said that it was the non-oil sector that had a substantial role in the state’s economic growth during this time frame.

It was then that Ahmed thanked the relationship between the US and Qatar for this strengthening.  He said: “The strong, friendly and economic partnership between Qatar and the United States has achieved remarkable economic growth and increased trade volume. The total trade volume between the two countries reached $4.5bn in 2015.”  He also noted the necessity of the US-Qatar friendship, adding that his region was “looking forward to further advancement and promotion of economic, commercial and investment cooperation between the two countries.”

Also at the council meeting were other Qatari representatives such as those from the Foreign Ministry, Transport and Communications Ministry, Finance, General Authority of Customs Ministry and Qatar Investment Authority, among others.

 

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Obama Meets with Emir of Qatar

Last Thursday, President Obama met with the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, expressing his appreciation for the Emir’s leadership about democracy in the Middle East and the work that they have done to try to promote a peaceful transition in Libya.

Obama’s Words at the Meeting

As Obama said at the meeting, “Qatar is not only supportive diplomatically but is also supportive militarily, and we are very appreciative of the outstanding work of that the Qataris have done side by side with the other international coalition members. In addition to our efforts in Libya, we have a strong relationship between our two countries. It is an economic relationship. It is a military relationship. It is a cultural relationship.”

Obama also congratulated the Emir for having the World Cup coming to Qatar in 2022.

Obama’s Off-the-Record Words

Thursday evening, during a political donors event in Chicago, Obama has other words to say about the meeting. While meeting with the donors at the q-and-a session, Obama didn’t realize that he was speaking on an open mike.

As Mark Knoller of CBS News recorded, Obama said, that evening that, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani was a “Pretty influential guy…”He is a big booster, big promoter of democracy all throughout the Middle East. Reform, reform, reform — you’re seeing it on Al Jazeera.”

Obama went on to put his foot in his mouth when he said, “Now, he himself is not reforming significantly. There’s no big move towards democracy in Qatar. But you know part of the reason is that the per capita income of Qatar is $145,000 a year. That will dampen a lot of conflict.”

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