His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Saud Al Thani, the country’s ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, confirmed in a special dialogue to Al-Sharq that the bilateral relations between the State of Qatar and the Federal Republic of Germany are based on understanding, cooperation, mutual respect and common interests, noting that Qatar has become an important partner for Germany. In the Middle East and North Africa, after the past decade witnessed a paradigm shift in the relations between the two countries at various levels.
His Excellency said to Al-Sharq that Qatar and Germany share views on the importance of activating dialogue as the only effective tool for resolving international disputes, citing the joint Qatari-German efforts that led to the signing of an agreement to bring peace to Afghanistan.
He stressed that Qatar is an important destination for German companies, as it provides an attractive environment for investment, noting that there are more than 300 German companies operating in the State of Qatar, and that Germany is one of the important destinations that Qatar is looking to benefit from its expertise in achieving Vision 2030.
His Excellency affirmed, in return, that Qatar One of the largest investors in general and the Arabs in particular in Germany, with investments amounting to 25 billion dollars in vital areas, explaining that Qatari investments in Germany are strategic and long-term.
His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Saud Al Thani, the country’s ambassador to the Republic of Germany, announced that trade exchange between the two countries reached about one billion dollars in the first half of 2020, despite the repercussions of the pandemic.
The following is the text of the interview:
– Your Excellency: How do you evaluate the political, economic and investment relations between Qatar and Germany?
The bilateral relations between the State of Qatar and the Federal Republic of Germany were and still are based on understanding, cooperation, mutual respect and common interests, all of which are based on a solid base of friendship between the two countries, as the past decade witnessed a qualitative shift in the nature of relations between the two countries at various levels, which increased. Solidarity with the high number of common denominators that unite our two countries, which translated into political initiatives aimed at strengthening international cooperation and consolidating peace, and the existence of common visions to activate dialogue as the only effective tool for resolving international disputes, as joint Qatar-German efforts led to the signing of an agreement. To bring peace to Afghanistan. Looking at the nearly fifty years of commercial and political relations between the State of Qatar and the Federal Republic of Germany, we find that the State of Qatar has become an important partner for Germany in the Middle East and North Africa region.
* 300 German companies
– how many German companies operate in Qatar and in which activities are they concentrated and the size of their investments? Are there German companies participating in building projects for the 2022 World Cup in Doha?
According to statistics, there are more than 300 German companies operating in the State of Qatar, where their activities deal with various economic as well as service fields. There is no doubt that German companies benefit from the large projects that are being implemented in the State of Qatar. Germany is one of the important destinations that Qatar is looking forward to benefit from and from its experience in achieving Vision 2030, and as is well known, the investment path is not a one-way, but rather a reciprocal one, as the State of Qatar encourages companies to invest in Qatar. Qatar provides the legislative, legal, tax and logistical infrastructure in addition to the infrastructure to attract foreign investments, including German ones. In fact, there is a real desire among German companies to take advantage of the distinguished geographical location of the State of Qatar, which provides access to more than 400 million consumers in the Middle East, West and Southwest Asia, and from the logistical infrastructure provided by Hamad International Port, which is the largest maritime port in the region. Not to mention the tax facilities and the provision of a legal environment with international standards attractive to investment, which makes Qatar an important destination for German companies, especially with the important role played by the presence of free zones in Qatar, which witnesses a remarkable presence of German companies.
* Strategic investments
– What is the nature and size of Qatari investments in Germany?
Qatari investments in the German economy are strategic and long-term investments, not just investments based on profit making, in addition to the fact that Qatar is one of the largest investors in general and the Arabs, especially in Germany, as the volume of its investments in Germany amounts to about $ 25 billion in vital sectors distributed among companies Cars, information technology, and banking, in addition to various other investments, and major projects in infrastructure, scientific research and pharmaceutical companies. His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the country (may God protect him), announced at the Qatar-German Business and Investment Forum in 2018, with the participation of His Excellency Chancellor Merkel, of investing 10 billion euros in small and medium-sized companies that form the backbone of the German economy.
* The Joint Commission
Are there joint committees or periodic meetings between businessmen in the two countries?
Yes, as we have the Qatari-German Joint Committee for Economic, Commercial and Technical Cooperation, which holds its meetings periodically, as its last meeting was held in February 2019 in Berlin. Last September, the Qatar-German Business and Investment Forum witnessed the announcement of the establishment of the Qatar-German Joint Businessmen Council. The first meeting was held in December 2019. In addition, we organize, directly or indirectly, periodic meetings, discussions and round-table events in coordination and cooperation with the General Federation of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in various German states, and the Qatari Businessmen Association, Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
* Qatari initiatives
– How did the mission contribute to activating popular diplomacy and strengthening relations?
Undoubtedly, popular diplomacy plays a significant role in defining the opinion of the outside world with the image of the country and in correcting misconceptions. National, local and Qatari relief societies, as well as Qatari organizations interested in humanitarian and educational affairs as well – such as the Education Above All Initiative, the Educating a Child Initiative, as well as the valuable WISE Prize – have been able to gain a distinctive image, in return for the great and valuable services they provide in the field of charitable and humanitarian work. And relief organizations worldwide, and this is reflected very positively on the image of the State of Qatar abroad, specifically in our case today in Germany. Qatari humanitarian projects abroad are witnessing significant recognition by active civil society and civil society organizations in Germany, which play an important role in the political decision-making process inside Germany.
* The recovery of tourism movement
– Tell us about the most important tourist areas in Germany and the number of Qatari tourists?
German cities occupy a privileged position on the map of Qatari tourists, and the German state of Bavaria and the city of Munich, which hosts many important archaeological, historical and cultural sites, are of great interest. In addition to the presence of many medical and therapeutic centers in it. Nature in Germany is also a very suitable place for recreation and convalescence. It can be said that the tourism movement has witnessed a remarkable recovery during the last period, but the need is still great to work to deepen the tourism exchange between the two countries further, in terms of encouraging promotional campaigns for tourism activities, and not only on businessmen tourism, but rather to reach larger segments of the population. Tourists in both countries.
* A pioneering role for Qatar Airways
– What is the role of Qatar Airways in stimulating tourism between the two countries?
Qatar Airways plays a pioneering role in encouraging international tourism, specifically in promoting tourism between Qatar and Germany, as Qatar Airways operates 35 flights a week from Doha to Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt, which provides a variety of travel options for passengers to more than 150 destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the region. Pacific. There is no doubt that Qatar Airways, which is considered one of the fastest growing global airlines, contributes greatly to enriching the dynamic and dynamic German market, and provides it with a series of advanced and modern services in the world of travel, which on the other hand is reflected in the strengthening of economic relations between the two countries. Hotel occupancy rate, enhances trade and economic exchange plans and programs, and supports investment strategies between the two countries.
Are there agreements in the customs and tax fields?
Yes, as the economic and commercial cooperation agreement and agreements to encourage and protect mutual investments between the two countries have been signed, and we are working on finalizing a joint memorandum of understanding to avoid double taxation and prevent financial evasion between the two countries, in addition to a joint memorandum of understanding in the field of scientific research, in addition to the presence of many Of the other agreements awaiting signature or which are still under study.
* Deepening cooperation
– What are the most important achievements of the diplomatic mission in 2020 in Germany?
The Corona epidemic crisis affected the whole world, but the embassy succeeded in organizing as well as participating in many bilateral events via video, and it showed a quick response in adapting to the conditions of the meetings that were printed and are still during the first months of this year we worked here in Germany. Despite all these challenges, we were able, thank God, to take several steps towards deepening bilateral cooperation with Germany and strengthening joint relations with Germany in various fields.
Cultural and educational cooperation
– What is the mission’s role in activating scientific, educational and cultural exchange between the two countries?
We have started, not long ago, to work on strengthening cultural and educational cooperation between the two countries, and the cultural field is at the top of my priority list as an ambassador of the State of Qatar to Germany, as we are working steadily to sign a joint memorandum of understanding between Qatar National Library and German libraries, as well as between museums, Work is also being done on ways to activate and develop student exchange processes between the universities of the two countries, in a way that allows young people in the two countries to exchange experiences, experiences and acquire skills, in addition to learning about the country’s culture and traditions, in a way that contributes to later abandoning the stereotypes that one side has about the other. Where we will see in the near future, God willing, one of the most prestigious German universities in Qatar.
Work is also underway at the present time on projects to create a link between educational institutions in both countries, whether at the basic and pre-university education stage, as well as at the university education stage itself. There is no doubt that Germany has a distinguished and unique experience in developing the educational sector, and this is proven by the international reputation enjoyed by German universities worldwide.
With regard to the mission’s view of the possibility of enhancing cultural exchange between the two countries, the rich and varied activities that were organized during the current year, within the framework of the Qatari-German Cultural Year, have demonstrated the great importance that the cultural dimension carries with it in bridging the views between the two countries, and building bridges of communication and dialogue between them. . This was evident in concrete terms in the activities that the mission organized in “Al-Diwan, the Arab Cultural House”.
– To what do you refer to Qatar’s success in dealing with the Corona epidemic crisis (Covid-19 /), and is there German or European coordination in this field?
I believe that the success of the State of Qatar in dealing with the Coronavirus is due in the first place to the series of decisions and measures taken by the state in this regard, in addition to the cooperation of community members and their commitment to precautionary measures, which has contributed to a significant decrease in the number of infections since the summer of last year. We also do not forget the role of the Ministry of Public Health in conducting periodic investigation checks for workers in complexes and restaurants and workers in the health sector, in addition to conducting pre-emptive surveys on a daily basis as part of the efforts made to limit the spread of the virus. The large investments that the state allocated during the past period to the health sector paid off, thanks to God, as the increase in hospital capacity and the construction of field hospitals are all factors that have contributed to the success of efforts to counter the spread of the virus.