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OSEC CEO Daniel Kung giving a presentation at the launch of the Swiss trade and investment promotion agency in Qatar at the St Regis Hotel yesterday. (Qassim Rahmatullah)
BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB
DOHA: Switzerland has set up a trade and investment promotion agency here to boost trade with Qatar. Known as OSEC, the move has been encouraged by the fact that the volume of trade between Switzerland and Qatar witnessed a phenomenal 33 percent growth between 2010 and 2011.
The volume of trade between the two countries has soared from QR1.5bn in 2010 to nearly QR2bn in 2011, said a senior official of Qatar’s Ministry of Business and Trade.
The ceremony to launch OSEC was held at St Regis Hotel yesterday.
The recently opened Switzerland embassy in Qatar organised a seminar in collaboration with Qatari Businessmen’s Association (QBA) and Qatar Chamber to discuss the trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.
“Our trade volume has gone up from QR1.5bn in 2010 to nearly QR2bn in 2011, which is below the level our ambition for both sides. We hope for a greater increase in future that meets our expectations,” said H E Sultan Rashid Al Khater, Under-secretary at the Ministry of Business and Trade.
He added: “Mobilising and using the Qatari resources and abilities together with the Swiss know-how, experience and technology will, without doubt, boost the socio- economic development of the country.”
To achieve the objectives, QBA and OSEC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), and both the nations are now looking forward to sign a free trade agreements (FTA) soon to boost trade and investments.
Also present at the event were Sheikh Mohammed bin Faisal Al Thani, Vice-Chairman of Al Faisal Holding and Aamal and Member of the QBA; Ambassador Eric Martin, Delegate of the Federal Council for Trade Agreements; Daniel Kung, CEO of OSEC; Sherida Saad Jubran Al Kaabi, QBA board member, among others.
The seminar was initiated by Martin, followed by a welcome speech by Al Khater, who spoke about the bilateral relationship.
Sheikh Faisal highlighted the importance of this step as it will also support the bilateral relations and strengthen trade ties between the countries.
He also spoke of the foreign investments of Qatar that were allocated to various countries including Switzerland where Qatar has acquired the head quarters of the Swiss banking group Credit Suisse in London and increased its stake in the Swiss mining giant Xtrata.
Khalifa Al Misnad, partner at Al Misnad and Rifaat Co, presented the major legal regulations on how to start a business for foreign entities in Qatar and the current economic situation.
Kung highlighted the economic structure of Switzerland and the characteristics of the Swiss economy.