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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

US mayors meet Qatar’s Amir during trade mission visit


Doha and Washington declared 2021 as the joint Year of Culture during the third Qatari-US Strategic Dialogue meeting in September last year.

Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim met with a delegation of mayors from the US states of Florida, Illinois and Michigan during their three-day trade mission in Doha on Tuesday.

The delegation included the mayor of Miami, Florida, Francis Suarez who is also the Second Vice President of the US Conference of Mayors; mayor of Quincy, Illinois, Kyle Moore; and mayor of Rochester Hills, Michigan, Bryan Barnett.

The American officials, all part of the US Conference of Mayors, discussed strategic Doha-Washington ties and issues of common interest with the Amir. They then met with Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed Al-Kuwari and Minister of Municipality and Environment Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Subaie.

According to Florida media, Local10, Suarez’s visit comes as part of hopes to encourage investments in Miami.

“The main objective for Mayor Suarez is to attract investments to Miami and to continue promoting Miami as a global destination for business and investment that will lead to smart growth, opportunity, and well-paying jobs for our residents,” Local10 quoted Suarez’s office as saying.

The visit also comes during the Qatar-US 2021 Year of Culture, which sees year-long activities held in both Doha and the US.

Read also: Qatari investments in the US see ‘steady growth’, report says

This year will feature virtual and in-person events, including exhibitions and installations of works by Qatari and American artists, events sharing music, film, and fashion from both Qatar and the US; sporting events, culinary experiences, entrepreneurship, innovation, STEM, and business events, and educational programmes.

The Qatar-USA 2021 year of culture was an inaugurated through an event held at Katara in January in the presence of Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, and Greta Holtz the US ambassador to Doha as guests of honour.

“The Year of Culture program provides an extraordinary framework within which our two nations can come together to celebrate our longstanding relationship and forge new connections through people-to-people exchanges,” said the US ambassador Greta C. Holtz, commenting on the event.

Qatar-US ties

Qatar’s foreign direct investments [FDI] in the US witnessed a steady growth that increased at over 10% in the last few years, according to the second edition of the ‘US Business Outlook in Qatar Report’.

Over 120 American companies operating in Qatar, making it the US’ 57th largest goods trading partner with $6 billion worth of two-way goods trade during 2018. US exports to Qatar have grown 63% since 2008 and totalled $4.4 billion in 2018, the US Chamber of Commerce report noted.

American exports included aircraft, electrical machinery, machinery, vehicles, arms and ammunition. The US is also a major equipment supplier for Qatar’s oil and gas industry and plays a significant role in the development of the sector.

“Qataris have also entered the US market in growing numbers. US goods imports from Qatar totalled $1.6 billion in 2018, an increase of 225% since 2008. Primary imports include mineral fuels, fertilisers, aluminium, and chemicals,” the report stated.

The US and Qatar signed a trade and investment framework agreement [TIFA] in 2004 to establish a framework for expanding trade between the two and resolving trade disputes, the report added.

Qatar is also home to the largest US military base in the region, hosting 8,000 US service members and Department of Defence civilian employees.

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