US firms upbeat on Qatar market despite pandemic, says business council exec
April 25 2020 08:08 PM
File photo shows USQBC managing director Mohamed Barakat (right) in a dialogue with Qatari officials
File photo shows USQBC managing director Mohamed Barakat (right) in a dialogue with Qatari officials during a forum.

American companies are keeping an upbeat outlook on the Qatari economy, an official of the US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC) has said, citing quick government support, among other initiatives offered, to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on foreign companies operating in the country.

Speaking on how US firms in Qatar are coping with the Covid-19 issue, USQBC managing director Mohamed Barakat told Gulf Times how the council is helping maintain business continuity, “In general, prospective operations are still going and potentially growing.”

Barakat elaborated, “This global health crisis has affected all companies and businesses. The travel restrictions, restrictions on gatherings, and the most important part of maintaining distance for health and safety reasons have surely affected the normal operations of these companies.”

“However, new technologies and the utilisation of new methods of communications have started to allow the continuation of business, and maintain the supply chain flow. It is definitely difficult to operate in such conditions.

“But the State of Qatar’s management of this health pandemic in a very transparent and coordinated effort, and the support to the private companies, provided a strong positive impact and raised the investors trust in the economy and the market,” Barakat continued.

According to Barakat, the level of support the Qatari government has provided to the private sector, the commitment to continued development, and the advancement of the country and the economy “provided a strong message.”

“The quick action by the government provided a platform of trust in the market, which allowed US companies to maintain their business and interest in the market. So far, we see a potential increase of commitment, especially in this global economic impact, companies will look to markets, such as Qatar – a country that shows commitment to continued growth,” Barakat stressed.

In December 2019, the USQBC opened its Doha office to further strengthen economic ties between Qatar and the US, as well as private sector relations of both countries.

“The USQBC utilises different methods of communication, whether directly or indirectly, to communicate with US companies with operations or business in Qatar. The council also provides ongoing information and updates. In addition, we support companies that might require direct assistant, also communicate with those Qatari companies that require assistance or support with their US partners or suppliers.

“Moreover, the USQBC has been providing platforms to maintain company engagements and access to their partners. We communicate as necessary with the US embassy in Qatar, especially in regard to US companies or trade and business, and also in facilitating direct discussions between both sides,” Barakat added.




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