Qatar and Ukraine… Trade exchange and promising investments in various fields
Kiev During the past few years, the State of Qatar has emerged as a major economic partner for Ukraine in the Arab Gulf region, and one of the largest interested in investing in the Ukrainian market in its various fields.
The mutual visits of senior officials reflected the volume of bilateral interest in pushing relations towards more advanced levels, especially since the visits witnessed the signing of dozens of agreements in various fields, especially the economic ones.
These areas concern import and joint investment in agricultural industries, energy, tourism, infrastructure, and everything that serves these areas in terms of laws, memoranda of understanding and procedures, such as those related to daily intra-regional air traffic and air services, the abolition of the entry visa regime between the two countries, and the avoidance of double taxation.
The most recent was the visit of a delegation led by the President of the Qatari Businessmen Association, Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, at the end of last December.
According to the Qatari embassy in Ukraine, the volume of trade exchange amounted to about 140 million dollars at the end of 2020, which did not exceed 90 million dollars in 2019.
In an interview with Al Jazeera Net, the Qatari ambassador, Hadi Al-Hajri, considers that “the possibilities of cooperation are much greater, and the coming period heralds more good and benefit for the two countries. Today, we have 38 bilateral agreements that have entered into force, and 13 agreements are under study.”
Al-Hajri notes that most of these agreements were signed in Doha, during the visit of former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, in March 2018, and the visit of the current President, Volodymyr Zelensky, in April 2021, at the head of high-level delegations, in addition to the meeting of the Qatari-Ukrainian Joint Committee For economic, commercial and technical cooperation, last September.
In turn, Ihor Zhovkva, Deputy Director of the Ukrainian President’s Office, stressed that his country is ready to fully guarantee Qatari food security, and to export high-quality agricultural products to it, in addition to the possibility of supplying Ukrainian food products to other countries in the region, through the Qatari logistics network.
This year witnessed the opening of Qatar’s markets to various Ukrainian food products, after obtaining the necessary certificates and licenses, such as meat, cheese, milk and honey. Discussions are also underway about the possibility of supplying Qatar with wheat and oils.
In this context, Ambassador Al-Hajri also notes the opening of a Ukrainian center for amber in the Katara Cultural Village in Qatar, noting that last September witnessed the signing of joint memoranda of cooperation, between the Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food of Ukraine on the one hand, and Baladna and Widam companies on the one hand. Country, on the other hand.
Investment leaps in infrastructure
If the markets are of the interest of the population and small and medium-sized companies more than others, then huge investments fall in the circle of interest of major institutions in both countries.
Both sides proudly talk about making “big leaps” in mutual investments over the past two years, particularly in the areas of energy and infrastructure.
Ambassador Al-Hajri, in this context, refers to the largest of these investments, which is the concession contract for a period of 35 years (until 2056), according to which the Qatari company QTerminals will invest about $140 million in the development of the port of “Ulvia” in Mykolaiv, with 3.5 million of this amount was allocated to the restoration of the city’s local infrastructure.
During his official visit to Doha at the beginning of last April, President Zelensky expressed his country’s interest in investing more in infrastructure projects for the 2022 World Cup. In this context, the former Ukrainian ambassador to Doha, Yevhen Mikitenko, had stated that 50% of the iron bars that It was used in the construction of the World Cup stadiums “Ukrainian origin”.
In addition to infrastructure, Qatar pays great attention to energy investments in Ukraine, and the latter is interested in the issue of obtaining Qatari gas.
In this regard, Ambassador Al-Hajri indicates that the Qatari “Nebras” Energy expanded its investment map to the Ukrainian energy market in 2021, through a partnership agreement in 6 projects to generate electricity through solar energy, in which this Qatari company has a majority stake.
And Maxim Nemchinov, Deputy Minister of Energy of Ukraine, announced that his country is conducting negotiations with Doha on supplies of liquefied gas through Poland, and to overcome the difficulties that hinder this matter.
Many see Qatar as a main gateway for Ukraine to enter the Gulf markets and the countries of the region, and a “lifeline” for its faltering economy due to crises.
Victoria Movchan, an economic analyst for Al Jazeera Net, says, “After the escalation of tensions with Moscow and the closure of the Russian borders to Ukrainian exports, the interests of exporters shifted to European countries, Turkey and Arab countries, especially the Gulf ones.”
She adds that economic cooperation with these countries has developed rapidly, and it seems that Ukraine’s richness in untapped potentials and opportunities, Qatar’s richness in gas and logistical transportation, as well as Kiev’s steps in the areas of reform and facilitating export and import operations, created an atmosphere of confidence, and opened wider horizons for cooperation at the bilateral and regional levels. .
The economic analyst also points to a similar great interest shown by Saudi and Emirati companies, such as the Saudi company “SALIC”, which entered the investment market in Ukraine, in the fields of cultivation and production of wheat and grains.