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H.E. Ahmad Al-Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman of QFZA, participated in a panel discussion at Qatar Economic Forum themed “Reenergizing Globalization”.
Chairman Al-Sayed outlined that Qatar Free Zones were established as part of the government’s efforts to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), diversify the economy and create a hub for connectivity. Qatar Free Zones were set to enable partnerships between foreign investors and local companies, creating an economic development platform for international investors and their counterparts in the local private sector.
Regarding economic diversification in the GCC countries, which are dependent on hydrocarbons, the Chairman indicated that Qatar is doing very well. Since the early 1990s we have been diversifying our economy through many new institutions and organizations, from Qatar Airways to Qatar Foundation to – later on – the Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment, Qatar Science & Technology Park, Qatar Investment Authority and finally Qatar Free Zones, under Qatar National Vision 2030.
About the current progress in QFZA, he said, we are progressing at a steady pace and have achieved a lot so far, with the growth of many sectors including logistics and emerging technologies. The government has implemented many initiatives under QNV 2030, and is working on developing the next phase of Qatar’s diversification plan.
With regard to the impact of the pandemic in Qatar Free Zones, Mr Al-Sayed said “we are focusing on tomorrow’s world. Emerging technologies and big data have always been a major focus for us, and continued to be so throughout Covid-19. The pandemic had a huge impact on the world, but we were able to continue our smooth operations during this period thanks in large part to our strategic partners such as Thales, Google and Microsoft, as well as others, whose helped us to develop technologically advanced ecosystems that could withstand these challenges.”
In response to a question about the G7 announcement about a potential global corporate minimum tax, H.E. noted that “the tax exemptions, while important, are just one element of the free zone offering. Companies come to Qatar Free Zones looking for advanced regulations, connectivity, logistics capabilities, workforce, and other incentives. With regard to those G7 discussions, we will have to wait and see as it is not clear yet how such a measure would be implemented or how it would impact global companies. Regardless, we continue to work closely with our investors to help them optimize their business environment.”