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Remarks by Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Virtual Business Forum


Thank you, Ambassador Patterson, for the kind introduction, and for your leadership of the U.S.-Qatar Business Council. My thanks also to Tom Donohue and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for your work with the Ambassador in organizing today’s event. And a warm welcome to His Excellencies – Minister Ali bin Ahmed Al-Kuwari, Sheikh Halifa bin Jassim Al Thani, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani. Thank you for your participation in our discussions over these two days.

It was almost a year ago that I was in Doha meeting with Amir Al-Thani. We discussed how important it is for our two nations to be the best of partners. And we have been extremely pleased with your commercial commitment to the more than 100 major U.S. companies that operate in your country.

We also have been supportive of the Qatar Investment Authority’s plan to increase investment in the United States from $30 billion to $45 billion in 2020 and 2021. We continue to share a close and important economic and geopolitical relationship with Qatar.

We established diplomatic relations in 1972, after Qatar won its independence from the U.K. in 1971. Qatar is also home to the Al Udeid Air Base, our largest military base in the Middle East. Thank you for hosting more than 10,000 U.S. military personnel.

The U.S. is largest foreign direct investor in Qatar, with a total of $10.6 billion in U.S. FDI in 2018. And the United States is Qatar’s single largest source of imports at $6.5 billion in 2019.

Moreover, Qatar is one of the few countries in the world with whom we run a trade surplus, totaling $4.8 billion in 2019. And I expect our bilateral trade relationship will flourish as the global economy recovers in the wake of COVID19.

In fact, currently, within the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, the Advocacy Center is engaged in 29 active cases for advocacy assistance in Qatar. The cumulative total project value of these cases is $68 billion, with $16 billion in potential U.S. export content. The principal industries covered by these business opportunities include Aerospace and Defense, Environmental Technology, and Energy.

Our economic relationship with Qatar remains an important component to our overall security and commercial engagement in the Gulf.  As such, I encourage American companies to continue looking to Qatar for business opportunities. With the World Cup Soccer tournament approaching in 2022, there will be many opportunities for U.S. companies to provide Qatar with world-class technology, equipment, and services. And our team of Commerce Department Foreign Commercial Service officers in Doha will continue supporting American businesses eager to engage.

Our Strategic Dialogue is one of the central means by which we work to deepen our ties directly with your nation. I look forward to using this Forum today to explore new ways for our countries to expand our commercial, trade, and cultural relationship. Thank you, again, for showing your devotion to our partnership by traveling so far during these times. I sincerely hope your delegation has an extremely productive visit while you are here in the United States.