Doha: Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari’s official visit to Doha, which began today, is within the framework of Qatar’s keenness on opening up to the various friendly and brotherly countries and peoples and on developing and enhancing cooperation with them in various fields to serve common interests, goals and aspirations of the two friendly countries and peoples.

The Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani is expected to meet with the President of Nepal on Tuesday to discuss bilateral relations and means of boosting them, in addition to a number of regional and international issues of common concern. The visit and discussions are expected to contribute to the promotion and development of relations between the two countries, and opening many areas for more growth and development, especially in energy, investment and trade.

The Qatari-Nepalese relations date back to more than 30 years. The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1985. The Embassy of Qatar was officially opened in Kathmandu on 10 September 2012. The two countries’ relations have always been growing and developing on the basis of mutual respect and the pursuit of international peace and security.

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In 2011, the then Nepalese President Dr Ram Baran Yadav paid a visit to Qatar. In 2005, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nepal Ramesh Nath Pandey visited Qatar. The relations between the two countries include a range of agreements and memorandums of understanding. Thy include an agreement on avoidance of double taxation and prevention of financial evasion signed in 2007, an agreement between the governments of the two countries on air services, an agreement on economic, commercial and technical cooperation signed in 2005, an agreement regulating the employment of Nepalese workers in Qatar signed in 2005, a memorandum of understanding between the two foreign ministries signed in 2005, and a memorandum of understanding between Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry with its Nepalese counterpart signed in 2005.

On April 26, the two chambers signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at enhancing cooperation and creating economic partnerships between businessmen in both countries. It also aims to further push forward trade relations between the two sides to increase the volume of trade, especially since Nepal has made great progress in developing its economy in various sectors, particularly agriculture, industry and tourism.

In November 2015, the National Human Rights Committee signed a memorandum of understanding with its Nepali counterpart to establish and facilitate the relationship between the two committees to promote close cooperation and exchange of information and bilateral contacts, especially in the field of labor rights. The MoU stated that the two parties would work to build capacity in Qatar and Nepal through the implementation of training and education programs for workers at the level of relevant ministries and other agencies, as well as staff members of the two organizations, particularly on issues related to the rights of Nepalese workers.

The memorandum also stated that the two parties shall work to educate workers, employers, managers, employment officials, developers and diplomatic missions about the labor rights issues on existing legislation and international agreements, and the ILO labor conventions.

The Qatar Football Association (QFA) signed a five-year collaboration agreement with the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) on October 23. The agreement brings QFA and ANFA closer as they look into ways and means to develop the worlds biggest sport.

The trade relations between Qatar and Nepal have been growing continuously, as Nepal’s primary exports to Qatar include garments, textiles, magnetic cylinders, vegetables and others, while Nepal imports polyethylene, polypropylene, and some food products from Qatar.

The Nepalese workers in Qatar is estimated at 400,000 workers who are involved in building the Qatari development and in infrastructure projects and major projects sponsored by the State of Qatar in various fields. There are direct flights between Doha and Kathmandu due to the large numbers of Nepalese workers in the country.