- Special Pages
French Minister for Foreign Trade Nicole Bricq.
By Satish Kanady
DOHA: The French government will not listen to media speculations and its priority is just ‘doing business’ with its partners, the visiting French Minister for Foreign Trade Nicole Bricq told reporters here yesterday.
Nicole was reacting to local journalists’ queries regarding French media’s consistent criticism of Qatari government’s investment in her country.
“Qatari investments are and will be welcomed in France. We will not listen to any sort of unfounded criticism. We are keen on doing business with Qatar” she said.
France is Qatar’s second largest foreign investment destination. I understand Qatari media is sharply reacting to the French media’s criticism. But France has no interest in baseless reports. That’s why I am here, she told reporters.
“We welcome Qatari investors who are ready to invest in France with long-term strategies. We welcome them for equity participation in our large groups and the acquisition of some of our prestigious brands.” Nicole said France is one of the key partners of Qatar.
“With ¤1.5bn, France is one of the four main investors in this country and we are looking forward to further bolster our historical partnership with Qatar.”
Nicole, who is in Qatar with top executives of over 25 French companies, said French companies are keen on cooperating with key Qatari entities.
French companies are ready to share their expertise in important areas like developing SMEs, Sustainable Townships, hosting mega events and the 2022-event related infrastructure development projects, including the transportation networks.
Nicole and her delegation met with the Minister of Business and Trade H E Sheikh Jassim bin Abdulaziz Al Thani.
During the meeting, they discussed several issues of mutual interest and ways of enhancing them. Later the minister hosted a luncheon in honour of the visiting minister. A number of workshops were also held to discuss trade relations between the two countries.
Bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to more than QR9.1bn in 2011. Qatari exports to France is estimated at QR6.4bn, led by distillation products and mineral fuels, while imports amounted to around QR2.7bn.
Qatar and France were linked with a number trade agreements such as economic and trade cooperation and technical agreements and another one to protect and encourage joint investments.
Nicole also met with Qatar Rail, Managing Director Abdulla bin Abdul Aziz Tirki Al Subiei and the Chief Executive Officer Saad Al Muhannadi.
During the meeting, the French minister was briefed about the overall Qatar Rail Development Programme. There was also discussions about the scope of French companies’ participation in the Qatar Rail projects.
Nicole’s visit was also marked by hosting a number of workshops that discussed the trade relations between the two countries. The Peninsula