Bilateral economic relations between Qatar and Canada have witnessed exponential growth over the past few years as a result of friendly relations between the two countries. That growth momentum continued in 2018 as the recently released statistics show a sharp jump of nearly 42 percent in the two-way trade exchange.
The bilateral trade volume between Qatar and Canada rose to C$247m (QR671.42m) in 2018 registering a double-digit growth compared to C$174m (QR473m) for the corresponding period in 2017.
“In terms of Qatar-Canada bilateral trade in 2018, statistics were recently confirmed. We are pleased to announce that we saw an increase in bilateral trade between our two countries. And I hope that 2019 and the coming years witness further growth,” Stefanie McCollum, Canada’s Ambassador to Qatar, told The Peninsula.
McCollum added: “I see big opportunities for Canadians and Canadian companies to continue to contribute to the Qatari economy and also for Qatari investment as they are looking for diversification. So I see the great scope of growth in bilateral cooperation as both sides enjoy a very strong relationship, and we will continue to build on that.”
On the possibility of high-level visits and bilateral engagement in boosting cooperation, the Canadian envoy said that discussions going on in this regard but no dates have been finalized.
“We are expecting to have visits from both ways like Canadian delegations coming to Qatar and Qatari delegates visiting Canada. We going to send some invitations very soon to Qatari side so that they can visit Canada on the margins of some interesting events after the Eid Al Fitr,” she said.
On the expanding areas of cooperation, Ambassador McCollum said that the priority for the embassy this year would be some promising sectors such as oil & gas and infrastructure. But the Canadian side is also interested to strengthen cooperation in the field of agro-food, medical and healthcare services as a lot of Canadians are already working in Qatar in this sector.
She also noted that there is also a huge growth potential to enhance the level of cooperation in the field of pharmaceuticals, medical instrumentation and policy standardization among others, which are some of the more emerging sectors to complement the traditional areas of bilateral cooperation.
For his part, Jacob Burke, Chairman of Canadian Business Council of Qatar (CBCQ), added: “We, at the CBCQ, are working to facilitate and enhance the bilateral cooperation between the two countries, and providing the needful support to the Canadian businesses and other potential investors to have meeting with like-minded people. We are also trying to attract new business here in the local market as well as the Canadian businesses that are looking to come to Qatar.”
Burke also echoed that the size of the Canadian companies and community in Qatar is growing fast and steady both in the private sector as well as in the public sector.
He said that the CBCQ is routinely organizing networking events on regular intervals so that can leverage more and more growth.
Asked about the Canadian and Qatari companies, especially the ones that have huge expertise in the field of oil and gas can do more, he said: “Definitely, we have a lot of interests, partnerships and JVs (joint ventures) created here in Qatar with Canadian companies.
There is a lot of interest from Canadians who are looking forward to coming to Qatar and find strategic minded Qatari companies that can help grow their business outside of our geographical areas including North America. And we are here to support all those businesses to help them understand about the business environment in Qatar and how they can be more successful quickly.”