Washington, DC - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew along with Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Attiya, Minister of Finance Ali Al-Emadi, and CEO of the Qatar Investment Authority Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani inaugurated our first U.S.-Qatar Economic and Investment Dialogue today, marking a milestone in the bilateral relationship between our countries.
The dialogue will serve as an annual forum for convening key decision makers to identify concrete steps to bolster our financial, investment, and economic relations. Trade between the United States and Qatar has reached record levels, and the dialogue promises to help build upon that momentum. We are committed to the shared priorities of generating economic growth, creating jobs, and facilitating strong business relationships between Qatari and U.S. companies in a way that enhances prosperity for each country. Examples of our bilateral economic engagement are listed below:
Trade: Qatar is one of the United States’ most important trading partners in the region, and the U.S.-Qatari trade relationship has grown significantly in recent years. In 2014, ten years after the signing of a bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in 2004, U.S. exports to Qatar reached $5.2 billion. This amount was almost double the amount of exports in 2011 ($2.8 billion). The total value of all Qatari imports into the U.S. was approximately $1.7 billion.
Investment: Direct investment between Qatar and the United States also has grown dramatically in the past three years. In September 2015, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, opened its first office in the United States with plans by the State of Qatar to invest $35 billion in the United States over the coming five years, over $7 billion of which has been invested in 2015.In Qatar, American companies are achieving remarkable success and making important contributions to Qatar’s development strategy.
Expanding Businesses and Jobs: Increased trade and investment has fostered business relationships and created jobs for both Americans and Qataris. The $6.9 billion in bilateral trade in 2014 has created thousands of jobs in our countries. Recently, U.S. companies such as Fluor, Bechtel, AECOM, CH2M, Parsons, and KBR, among others, have been awarded major contracts for Qatari infrastructure projects, including a $16 billion dollar airport that opened in 2014.
Entrepreneurship: Both Qatar and the United States are committed to fostering entrepreneurship. Qatar detailed in its 2030 Qatar National Vision its intention to move towards a knowledge-based, diversified, and innovative economy. U.S. and Qatari institutes are working actively together to this end, including through mechanisms such as the Qatar Science and Technology Park which partnered with Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar to create the Executive Entrepreneurship Certificate Program, an incubator for a new generation of innovative Qataris. The United States and Qatar continue to collaborate on these and other efforts to foster growth and innovation.