Doha: The US-Qatar Business Council, the Commercial Attaché Office in the United States for the State of Qatar, and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a virtual discussion yesterday to highlight areas of interest and opportunities to further economic cooperation between Qatar and companies based in Southern California.
The discussion comes as Qatar drives ambitious, economic diversification by investing in strategic sectors that include sports and entertainment, cleantech, smart cities, e-sports, and gaming.
The discussion featured five guest speakers including Mohammed Barakat, Managing Director of USQBC; Martin Breidsprecher, Chief Operating Officer of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; The Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa, 41st Mayor of Los Angeles; Fahad Al Dosari, Commercial Attaché in the US for the State of Qatar and Peter McPartlin, Executive Vice President, Strategic Planning and Business Operations, Paramount Pictures.
“US companies and their technology have been critical to Qatar’s efforts to drive sustainable economic diversification and improve the quality of life for its residents, and we are proud to offer strong advantages and incentives for companies looking to establish a presence in the Middle East,” said Fahad Al Dosari. “Qatar and the US share a long history of partnership with an emphasis on creative industries, and we look forward to many new partnerships going forward.”
Qatar imported more than $23bn worth of goods from the US over the last five years. Today, the total economic value of the partnership between the two countries exceeds $200bn, and Qatar stands as one of the few countries with which the US runs a trade surplus. The US has over 850 companies, including joint ventures (JVs), operating in Qatar in a wide variety of industries and sizes, with investments totaling over $110.6bn to date, making the US the country’s largest foreign direct investor.
“There are many shared areas of interest among Southern Californian companies and those of Qatar,” said Martin Breidsprecher. “For L.A. area companies looking to expand to new markets or gain a foothold in the wider region, Qatar offers a business-friendly environment for SMEs and large corporations alike.”
Major American multinationals from Microsoft to Raytheon to Boeing have chosen Qatar as the go-to place of business in the Middle East for its location, economic benefits, and infrastructural support that helps businesses get up and running quickly in a new market.
“Los Angeles area companies and Qatar have shared a long-lasting lucrative partnership over the years across a diversity of business interests,” said Hon. Antonio Villaraigosa. “Many Southern California companies stand to benefit as Qatar continues to enhance its economic incentives and infrastructure to facilitate new investors.”
Qatar and the Los Angeles area share many economic commonalities including sports & entertainment.
“US investment in Qatar continues to increase year-on-year due to Qatar’s ambitious pro-business reforms and infrastructure investment,” said Mohammed Barakat. “From leading the international community in sports to pioneering smart city projects like Lusail and Msheireb Downtown Doha, Qatar stands ready for US businesses looking to expand their international footprint in the country and wider region.”
Qatar is also an increasingly large investor in the US having pledged $45bn in investment over the coming years. One of the Qatar Investment Authority’s (QIA) key investments was in Miramax Films, which is now jointly owned by Doha-based beIN Media Group and ViacomCBS – parent company of Paramount Pictures.
“We were very pleased to acquire our stake in Miramax last year, along with distribution and first look agreements relating to its film library and IP,” said Peter McPartlin. “Our dealings with beIN Media Group went very well, and we were impressed with the sophistication of beIN and its representatives.”
Los Angeles area companies have synergies with Qatar in many other areas including: aerospace; biomedical/medical technology; construction, design & engineering, entertainment & tourism, and finance.