It can be tricky at the best of times, the import export trade, and particularly so if setting up a new venture in an overseas location such as the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, for example. In that case, why would you even want to do so? As it turns out, the answer is fairly simple. Connections.
Yes, connections via air cargo carriers and shipping lines to major markets both emerging and mature lying to the east, west, north and south; connections to a comprehensive range of import and export services from HSBC and other multinational banks operating in Qatar and across the region; connections to a Qatari government in tune with the needs and aspirations of an expanding and diverse business community; connections to a workforce both plentiful and highly educated who can help turn entrepreneurial ideas into swift profit.
HSBC is a prime example of a bank more than capable of rising to any export or import challenge, not least because of its intimate cross-border knowledge, understanding and expertise. The bank’s reach is truly global, operating as it does in over 80 countries and regions across the world.
But there are other equally-capable banks operating across the Middle Eastern region well able to offer the shipping guarantee and factoring services vital for the success of any import export business. Barclays springs readily to mind, as does Citibank, Standard Chartered, Qatar Development Bank and many others.
Investment opportunities abound in Qatar, one of the largest oil and gas-producing countries in the world. In fact, it is often described as the richest country in the world in terms of highest per-capita income. Ties between the USA and Qatar have never been closer, not least because of the thousands of Americans who currently live and work in the country.
Qatar’s vast natural wealth has bank-rolled the country’s incredible transformation into a modern, outward-looking state now determined to exert a positive influence on the world stage. A good example is the help currently being given to the embattled and beleaguered Egyptian economy through grants and loans totalling some $5 billion.
Huge infrastructure projects worth billions of dollars have put the country firmly in the investment spotlight as companies from all around the world vie with each other to grab just a little piece of the action. Much of this has been driven by Qatar winning the right to stage the FIFA World Cup competition in 2022.
Projects include Doha’s new deep-sea port, expected to cost around $5.5 billion; a new $17.5 billion airport for the capital, scheduled to open this year; and various road and infrastructure projects worth in the region of $20 billion. Work is also scheduled to begin on the $36 billion Doha Metro system which will link all the stadiums involved in the World Cup.
Qatar is also investing heavily in its educational system, regarded by many as the best in the region. There are many first class international and private schools available for the expatriate community, all offering a high standard of education to all levels.
The government has even made it relatively easy for expatriates to buy a home in Qatar, admittedly limited to certain designated areas. The range of documentation required in order to obtain a mortgage includes residency permit, proof of income, a property valuation report, building insurance and a copy of the title deed.
A good place to start searching for information on setting up a business in Qatar is through the website of the US-Qatar Business Council, which can be found here.