· The ACD market is home to 4.4 billion people, accounting for 60% of the world’s population.
· In 2018, Qatar exchanged $81 billion worth of goods with ACD countries, representing about 70% of the country’s foreign trade.
· H.E. says “the natural, human and economic resources of ACD countries will contribute to the development of a strategic bloc that will cement the position of the Asian continent as a major economic force in the world.”
· H.E. the Minister of Commerce and Industry says Qatar is ready to become a networking hub among member states and to establish the Union of ACD Chambers.
H.E. Mr. Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, Minister of Commerce and Industry, emphasized on Thursday, May 2, 2019, that Qatar was keen to strengthen cooperation among Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) member countries. H.E. noted that Qatar was ready to become a networking hub that brings together ACD member states to promote economic integration among Asian countries.
H.E. delivered his remarks at the opening of ACD Business forum held under the theme “SME as the New Engine of Sustainable Economic Prosperity.” The forum kicked off within the framework of the 16th Ministerial Meeting of ACD member states, which Doha is hosting on April 30-May 2, 2019.
H.E. noted that the ACD has gained significant momentum since its establishment in 2002, noting that the organization currently represents over 34 Asian countries home to 4.4 billion people, accounting for 60% of the world’s population.
The natural, human and economic resources of these countries will contribute to the development of a strategic bloc that will cement the position of the Asian continent as a major global economic force, H.E. explained.
H.E. pointed to the changing geopolitical, economic and trade dynamics that have affected member countries, noting that these developments call for increased efforts to promote dialogue and coordination among ACD member states in a bid to tackle obstacles that might hinder trade and economic cooperation.
In this context, H.E. said Qatar is ready to become a networking hub among member states and to establish the Union of ACD Chambers, noting that he looks forward to assess this initiative during this meeting, which will support joint action and contribute to the achievement of economic integration among Asian countries.
Chairing this year’s ACD meeting reflects Qatar’s keenness to work hand in hand with the General Secretariat to strengthen partnerships between Asian countries and to bolster bilateral and multilateral cooperation, H.E. stressed.
As a founding member of this organization, Qatar has developed strategic partnership with ACD member states, H.E. explained, noting that these countries have exchanged goods worth 81 billion USD with Qatar, the equivalent of 70% of the country’s total foreign trade.
H.E. Mr. Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari highlighted the strategic policies that Qatar has adopted to enhance its openness and economic diversification while elaborating on the steps undertaken by the State to attract foreign direct investments and strengthen cooperation with Asian countries.
H.E. concluded his remarks by noting that the theme of the ACD Business Forum reflects Qatar’s belief in the role that the SME sector plays in creating job opportunities for youth and enhancing their entrepreneurial spirit.
In this context, H.E. called for the establishment of mechanisms to support and encourage SMEs to access financing and tap investment opportunities in markets across ACD member states to develop promising investment projects that serve the shared interests of Asian countries.
The forum brought together H.E. Mohammed bin Ahmed Towar Al-Kuwari, Vice Chairman of the Qatar Chamber, H.E. Gen Dr. V.K. Singh, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr. Bundit Limschoon, ACD Secretary General and H.E. Mohsen Salehi Nia, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Industry, Mining and Trade and Managing Director of the Organization of Small Industries and Industrial Cities, along with a number of officials, experts, investors and businessmen from Qatar and Asian countries.
The forum featured three panel discussions. The first panel entitled “Advanced Legislative Infrastructure and Doha as a Gate to Regional Markets” brought together Mr. Abdulbasit Talib Al-Ajji, Director of Business Development and Investment Promotion Department at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Fahad Zainal, Chief Executive Officer of Corporate Services at the Qatar Free Zone Authority (QFZA), Mr. Khalid Abdulla al-Mana, Executive Director of Business Finance at Qatar Development Bank (QDB), and Ms. Jeevani Siriwardena, Director General at the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka.
The second panel, which touched on the role of “SMEs as the Engine of Growth” brought together Dr. Geralyn Franklin, President of the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), Dr. Ayman Al-Trabeeshy, Executive Director of ICSB and Mr. Abdulrahman Al Suwaidi, Executive Director for Strategic and Business Development at QDB.
The third panel entitled “Creativity and Innovation as the key Business Success” brought together Dr. Arslan Safari, Assistant Professor at the Center for Entrepreneurship, Qatar University (QU), Mr. Juha Peralampt, Manager of Business Incubation at the Center for Entrepreneurship, Qatar University and Mr. Hamad Salem Mejegheer, Executive Director of Export Development and Promotion at QDB.
The forum also featured bilateral meetings that brought together businessmen to discuss efforts aimed at developing sustainable economic cooperation mechanisms. Participants reviewed investment opportunities in various fields, including logistics, agriculture, food industries, IT, tourism, hospitality, healthcare, banking and finance.