Doha Bank hosted a knowledge sharing session “Opportunities in Qatar” at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, Tokyo on 3rd April 2015. The key dignitaries who participated in the event include H.E. Hassan Al-Hemaidi, Second Secretary, The Embassy of the State of Qatar and H.E. Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa, Ambassador, Embassy of India. It was also well attended by major Japanese companies who have relationships in Qatar.

Speaking at the event Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on Global economies. He said “According to IMF Jan 2015 outlook the global economy is expected to grow by 3.5 per cent in 2015 and 3.7% in 2016.United States expected to grow at 3.6% in 2015 and to 3.3 per cent in 2016. Japan to grow at 0.6% in 2015 and 0.8% in 2016.In the euro area annual growth projected at 1.2% in 2015 and 1.4% in 2016. UK growth for 2014 revised to 2.6% and 2.7% in 2015 and 2.4% in 2016.Stagnation and low inflation are still concerns in the euro area and in Japan.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted on Qatar economy. He said “Qatar’s economic growth is expected to rise to 7% this year. Qatar Central Bank’s foreign currency reserves are more than $40 billion and the sovereign wealth fund, Qatar Investment Authority have about $160 billion surplus. The spending to encourage Qatar’s non- hydrocarbon diversification story will remain. Hence the allocation towards health, education and infrastructure is expected to continue. Private sector can play a key role in Qatar’s non – hydrocarbon diversification. Qatar’s ranked 16th in ‘the Global Competitiveness Report 2014-15’ by World economic forum. Qatar has extending the 2014-15 budget for 9 months to December 31, 2015 as it will follow a new January-to-December fiscal year from 2016. $18 billion has been has been earmarked for mega development projects in the budget. ”

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Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on Qatar – Japan Bilateral trade. He said “Bilateral trade between Japan and Qatar has increased from $31.1B in 2011 to $35.3B in 2014 mainly on account of surge in exports to Japan. Qatar’s foray into the global LNG market was realised with the shipment of the first output from a Qatar gas plant in October 1996 to Japan’s Chubu Electric Power. Japanese companies secured contracts to build the port at Ras Laffan. Japan mainly exports to Qatar vehicles, industrial materials, electric and cables. 70% of cars on the roads of Qatar are Japanese .Japan imports mainly crude oil and gas from Qatar. Other imports from Qatar were aluminum, organic chemicals, iron and plastics and fertilizers.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted the bilateral developments between Qatar – Japan in the hydrocarbon segment. He said “Qatar is Japan’s second-largest LNG supplier and third largest supplier of oil. In 2012 Japanese utility Kansai Electric Power Co signed a contract with the world’s top LNG producer Qatar gas to buy 500,000 tons per year (tpa) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for 15 years from January 2013. This is in addition to an existing contract for 290,000 tpa for 23 years from 1999 to 2021 which was signed with Qatar gas 3. The move comes as the company has been increasing spot LNG purchases from Qatar to fill the void of nuclear power it had lost following the massive March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Tokyo Electric Power has signed a contract with Qatar gas 1 to purchase 1 million tons per year of LNG from 2012. In August 2013 memorandum signed between Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and Qatar Petroleum (QP) concerning development of oil and natural gas. In August 2013 memorandum signed between Chiyoda Corporation and Qatar Petroleum (QP) concerning Acceptance of Trainees for development of oil and natural gas.”

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Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted the bilateral developments between Qatar – Japan in the non -hydrocarbon segments. He said ” Qatar and Japan have started formal relations in 1972.Qatar-Japan Fund of $100m formed for the reconstruction of the areas affected by earthquakes and Tsunami which hit East of Japan in March 2011.There are more than 40 Japanese companies in Qatar such as Itochu Corp, Nissho Iwai. Japanese companies – Mitsubishi and Hitachi will participate in the construction of Ras Abu Fontas (RAF) A2 seawater desalination plant in Qatar. Projects worth more than $31 billion are expected to be bid in Qatar in 2015 and Japan can look for opportunities in such projects. Qatar can benefit from Japanese engineering and construction companies in the energy sector through their green construction technology and energy efficient designs. In Dec 2014 the Government of Japan and the Government of the State of Qatar have agreed on the substance on the Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income.”

Source: Zawya