His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al-Thani, Minister of Commerce and Industry, participated in the proceedings of a session entitled ‘A New Era for Globalization’, conducted within the framework of the second edition of Qatar Economic Forum, powered by Bloomberg.
During his intervention in the session, H.E. the Minister of Commerce and Industry touched on the role of leadership the age of disruption and how the said role has changed in the post-pandemic stage. During the post-pandemic stage, world countries have become aware of weaknesses in global supply chains, and in their resilience to crises and disruptions, His Excellency noted, further explaining that the realization in question had given rise to a certain degree of protectionism, a phenomenon that has been on the rise in the pre-pandemic stage.
The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for disruption, especially in two areas: medical goods and vaccine materials, which witnessed a huge increase in the trade volume, and the high levels of digital trade, which has already been increasing for years owing to technology (high speed Internet, mobile phones, etc.), His Excellency stated. However, the pandemic contributed to accelerating this growth, His Excellency further explained, noting in this regard that the share of digitally-delivered services had increased from 54% in 2019 to 64% in 2020.
His Excellency stressed that the only real solution to confront global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic required multilateral measures, pointing out in this regard that a functional multilateral system offered a chance to solve global problems, including epidemics, climate change, cybersecurity issues, etc.
Food security is of paramount importance to the State of Qatar, so it has taken the necessary measures to ensure that global supply chain disruptions do not affect the quality of life of Qatar’s residents and the people who need it abroad, His Excellency pointed out.
In the context of talking about the mechanisms of revitalizing globalization, His Excellency stressed the importance of maintaining an effective global trading system that is transparent and predictable. The free trade flow not only allows countries with competitive advantages to participate in global trade, but also plays a role in bringing people together and connecting them to each other, His Excellency explained.
As an open economy, Qatar views trade and investments as a priority, His Excellency added, expressing in this regard his aspiration to enhance cooperation with trading partners in areas that can enhance the State’s economic competitiveness and investment attractiveness, at the bilateral and multilateral levels.
In terms of environmental, social and corporate governance practices, His Excellency pointed out that despite the benefits of globalization to the global economy, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a lack of resilience in companies’ supply chains due to their lean business practices, driven by their goals of maximizing profits and reducing costs by any means.
Qatar has identified environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) practices as a main focus in many sectors and industries, namely: the Qatar Stock Exchange launched the first sustainability platform in the region to encourage listed companies to disclose their reports on sustainable development (ESG); FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC (Q22), the operational arm for the delivery of the tournament, achieved the ISO 20121 certification, becoming the first FIFA World Cup in history to do so; and the North Field Expansion will include the largest of its kind carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility to capture CO2 emissions from the project, His Excellency further said.
On global and local investments, His Excellency noted that according to UNCTAD, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to the State of Qatar showed an improvement of about $1.35 billion. Additionally, specialized studies in this regard show that the State of Qatar has attracted a total of $1.3 billion of foreign investments in 2021, compared to $846 million in 2020, His Excellency further said.
At the conclusion of his intervention, His Excellency the Minister of Commerce and Industry stressed that despite the efforts made to create a resilient, self-sufficient economy, capable of meeting the needs of its residents, the COVID-19 pandemic rang as a reminder of the need for multilateral efforts to resolve any situation that hinders the current global trading system.
Moreover, His Excellency underscored the fact that a well-functioning multilateral trading system offers an opportunity to resolve problems in an inclusive and transparent manner that preserves developing countries’ rights, especially LDCs, to have access to economic growth, and an increased contribution to global trade.
Moderated by Ms Stephanie Flanders, Senior Executive Editor, Bloomberg, the panel discussion entitled ‘A New Era of Globalization’ aims to shed light on ways to defend global free trade, especially after many governments had abandoned support for this kind of trade even before the COVID-19 outbreak. The session touched on the new economic thinking that governments can adopt to revitalize globalization for the modern world.
The session was attended by Mr Bob Moritz, Global Chairman, PwC, and Mr Ferit F. Şahenk, Chairman & CEO, Dogus Group.
It is worth noting that the State of Qatar is hosting the second edition of the Qatar Economic Forum, Powered by Bloomberg, over three days, under the slogan ‘Equalizing the Global Recovery’, with the participation of a number of heads of State, State leaders, official figures, senior officials, decision makers, and more than 500 business leaders from around the world, in addition to featuring over 75 keynote speakers.
The agenda of the Forum’s current edition highlights a number of global topics and issues, including: achieving equality in the long-term global economic recovery equation; the future of global markets and prospects for globalization; ways to support global supply chains; sports from a business perspective; transformations in the energy sector and the green economy; and mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions.