Doing Business in Qatar

Business and Economic Overview

Despite the heavy Qatari reliance on hydrocarbon exports, the economy weathered the 2014/2015 fall in hydrocarbon prices, largely owing to low production costs and the progress made in economic diversification towards a knowledge and service-based economy. Real GDP growth is forecast to remain stable, driven by the services and construction sectors.[1]

Nevertheless, Qatar is expecting to continue to run a budget deficit owing to high levels of government spending in pursuit of its 2030 National Vision and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. [2]

Qatar is ranked 83 of 190 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index and 89 of 190 in the World Bank’s Starting a Business Index. Although Qatar encourages foreign investment, foreign ownership of local business is capped at 49% of the business’ capital, although with government approval it may be raised to 100% in key national sectors.

Further challenges include the regional geopolitical climate, high levels of bureaucracy and a lack of transparency in the economy, particularly in relation to government procurement. [3]

Businesses with a long-term strategy, however, may greatly benefit from the Qatari market. Outside of the hydrocarbon sector, particularly liquefied natural gas, there are a number of industries that can be seen as best prospect markets for investment or doing business in.

Qatar is expected to spend around US$200 billion to 2020 in the implementation of the 2030 National Vision, providing particular opportunity in infrastructure, healthcare, education, health and tourism. Indeed, in 2017 the government was predicted to have signed contracts worth in excess of US$12.8 billion.[4]

Furthermore construction machinery, project management, vehicles, precision medical equipment and commodities, such as food, all form key importing industries for Qatar and represent continuous opportunity.[5]

The aerospace-defence sector also contains numerous opportunities, as the Qatari government has recently signed major contracts in this sector with Western businesses and seeks to create a large network of military training facilities and programmes.[6]









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