Doha: There are more Swiss companies currently exploring opportunities in the Qatari market, and they are expected to bring their products and services to the country’s various industries, including luxury, pharmaceuticals, and other projects related to the upcoming Fifa World Cup 2022, Switzerland’s Ambassador to Qatar Edgar Doerig has said.
To date, more than 20 Swiss companies operate in Qatar including Nestle, Sika, and several Swiss banks. Doerig added that total trade volume between Qatar and Switzerland amounted to about 1.5bn Swiss Francs in 2018. Swiss exports to Qatar which included luxury watches, jewellery, and consumer goods among others, reached 1.1bn Swiss Francs, while Qatari exports to Switzerland reached around 350m Swiss Francs.
Data released by the Qatar Chamber however showed that trade volume between both countries increased by 28 percent to $3.7bn in 2018 from $2.9bn in 2017.
“We have a number of startup companies which participated at QITCOM this year, which offer internet-based solutions. Switzerland is also a centre for fintech, cybersecurity, and blockchain. I’m sure there’s very good business potential together with Qatar in these fields. We also have Swiss companies here like Sika, which are planning more investments in the country. I’m also sure there will be some more demand on the Free Trade Zones,” Doerig said while talking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the 4th Swiss Business Council Qatar (SBCQ) Awards 2019 which was held in Doha recently.
Switzerland, considered to be a major global powerhouse which ranks 20th economy in terms of GDP, is also seeking to foster its economic and diplomatic relations with Qatar.
“We are here to foster these relations, to help Swiss SMEs to discover the Qatari market. There are more and more Swiss companies who are interested in this market. And the SBCQ plays a very important role in welcoming more Swiss companies to Qatar,” Doerig added.
According to SBCQ President Dr Fariborz Samadian, there are plans to promote the organisation from a business council into a chamber of commerce, to keep abreast with the latest developments in the sector.
“We are now trying and communicating with Switzerland to operate into a chamber of commerce, which is likely to be a reality by the end of 2020. We have grown six times from when we started. We now have over 60 company members, even though there are only about 270 Swiss residents currently living in Qatar,” Samadian added.
The SBCQ, which was established five years ago, has conducted over 50 business and cultural events in Qatar, and has partnered with most business councils in the country. “This year we would like to work with other business councils and the Qatari Businessmen Association to exchange ideas and explore possibilities on how we can improve bilateral relations. We expect to have more Swiss companies in Qatar. And we’re also inviting Swiss companies to explore the opportunities in the Qatari market in line with the country’s National Vision 2030,” added Samadian.
According to the Swiss Ambassador, a high level Swiss Ministerial delegation is also expected to visit Qatar next year. He added that there has also been strong Qatari investments in Swiss hospitality industry in the last several years, including Katara Hospitality’s recent opening of the Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne with its four five star hotels, which is worth more than $1bn investments.