Visit of QBA Delegation to Turkey

14 Mar 2013 Ciragan Kempinski Hotel - Istanbul- Turkey

QBA Members attended

The Qatari Businessmen Association in cooperation with the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board - Deik held the first meeting of the Qatari-Turkish Business Council in Istanbul Turkey on 14 March 2013 in the Ciragan Kempinski Hotel.

The delegation was headed by QBA Chairman Sheikh / Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani in the presence of QBA Secretary General Mr. / Issa Abdul Salam Abu Issa, Board of Directors member Sheikh / Hamad bin Faisal Al Thani and esteemed members Mr. / Salah Al Jaidah, Mr. / Nasser Suleiman Haidar, Mr. / Maqbool Habeeb Khalfan  and Mr. / Nabil Abu Issa.

The Turkish side was attended by Chairman of Turkish Qatari Business Council, Mr. / Mithat Yenigun and members of the Qatari-Turkish Business Council along with businessmen from various economic sectors including real estate and construction, infrastructure and engineering, banking and tourism sectors.

The meeting was initiated by convening the first Business Council where both sides exchanged opinions and suggestions on how to enhance the economic cooperation and trade exchange in addition to proposing to organize a seminar in Doha that focuses on the development of industrial cooperation between the two sides and facilitating the entry of medium and small size Turkish industries to Qatar.

The council meeting was followed by an expanded seminar through which Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani thanked DEIK for hosting the Qatari delegation and for their interest in the market and possible investment opportunities in Qatar. Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim also expressed his ambition to promote the economic relations between the two countries to become as developed as the political relations, in addition to achieve the highest level of cooperation with businessmen in Turkey.

In his word Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani invited businessmen in Turkey to benefit from the projects that Qatar will accomplish in preparation for hosting the 2022 World Cup, as the State of Qatar has allocated more than U.S. $ 100 billion to be spent on infrastructure projects and major projects in relation to realizing the National Vision 2030.

On the other hand, Mr. / Mithat Yenigun expressed his pleasure to host the Qatari delegation, and desire to encourage Qatari businessmen to increase investments in Turkey especially since Turkey has many investment opportunities and a stable investment climate. Moreover, Mr. Mithat also mentioned that the Turkish contracting companies have carried out construction projects in Qatar worth about $ 12 billion, until the end of last year, and hoped that the Qatari investors will reciprocate and invest more in Turkey.

During the seminar, QBA Board member Sheikh Hamad Bin Faisal Al Thani outlined an overview about the Qatari, major projects in addition to the investment climate opportunities and incentives in a detailed presentation. Similarly other presentations were done by the Turkish side that shed light on the most important investment projects and activities available in Turkey.

On the sidelines of the Business Council, the Qatari delegation met with HE / Zafer Caglayan, Minister of Economy of Republic of Turkey, who welcomed the delegation to the country, and noted that this visit reflects the interest of Qatari businessmen to enter the Turkish market and increase their investments in the country.

H.E. the Economy Minister noted in his speech the availability of all appropriate opportunities to promote economic cooperation between the two countries and increase the volume of mutual investments, including raising the foreign direct investment in Turkey by 8.5% during the next ten years, in light of political security and economic stability that Turkey and Qatar enjoy as well as labor efficiency.

H.E. added that Turkey encourages foreign investment in 3 important sectors specifically in banking where Turkey plans to make Istanbul an international funding center during the next ten years, real estate where Turkey is the second country in the world in the field of construction, and the direct acquisition of existing companies, especially after the elimination of the previous ownership barriers.

He also presented the investment opportunities in Turkey, including building the largest airport in the world to receive more than 100 million passengers, and carry out projects to develop infrastructure at a cost of $ 250 billion to be completed during the next ten years, and build a canal under the sea connecting Asia and Europe as well as real estate projects plans to be completed for the development of transport and communications, energy with a total cost of U.S. $ 130 billion.

He added that the industry has evolved greatly, especially in the auto industry as Turkey ranks sixth country in Europe in the automotive industry and sixteenth in the world.

He noted that Turkey is aware of the projects which will be held in Qatar in order to achieve the National Vision 2030, and in preparation for hosting the 2022 World Cup where he hoped that that Turkish contractors and experts will get the opportunity to take over the implementation of these projects the construction of hotels and sports stadiums, roads and bridges and the New Doha International Airport.

As for the tourism sector Turkey is viewed as the sixth country in tourism globally where it attracts about two million tourists a year, while it offers first-class health products and hospital services where there are 42 health institutions currently that are characterized by international standards and have an annual return of two billion dollars annually.

In the field of education Turkey currently includes 200 public and private universities with 27,000 foreign students, hoping  to reach the 100,000 students in the coming years.

For his part, Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani thanked HE the minister of Economy for the warm welcome and pointed to the need to take advantage of the experience of Turkey in the industrial field for the promotion and development of local industries in Qatar through the establishment of industrial enterprises between the two countries. Sheikh Faisal also noted that tourism in Turkey is one of the best in the world as it has an advantage of the beautiful weather and scenery.

QBA Chairman mentioned that as an experienced businessman in the Qatari and Turkish market, who is knowledgeable and aware of the strong economic ties between the two countries, it is necessary to facilitate the opportunities and create a convenient climate for the younger generation to look for investment opportunities in both countries.

For his part, Mr. Issa Abdul Salam Abu Issa, QBA Secretary General, noted that the investment incentives are available in both countries, but it is necessary to highlight them, and clearly market them so that businessmen can learn and benefit from them.

On the other hand, Sheikh Hamad Bin Faisal addressed the Minister with a question about the feasibility of the entry of businessmen of the two countries to the automotive sector, where Mr. Zafer answered that the sectors which he highlighted in his speech are all profitable, including the automotive industry, real estate, hotels, and banking, especially in light of the incentives provided by the Turkish government.

Other investment-related issues were also discussed during the meeting, including encouraging and promoting medical tourism in Turkey and the establishment of a competent authority that supports and guides investors in the two countries, in addition to the creation and development of Islamic banking and the elimination of investment barriers and obstacles.

At the end of the meeting, the Minister suggested holding continuous meetings between the two countries and preparing an official visit to Qatar in the aim of presenting the various Turkish sectors and cooperation opportunities, in addition to explaining the laws on foreign investment and the new investment incentives system.

It is worth mentioning that both Qatar and Turkey have enjoyed close political and economic ties which have contributed to the promotion of the signing of agreements to develop economic exchanges and the protection of investments and avoidance of double taxation, as well as many mutual visits that are carried out by senior officials, which in turn have contributed to opening wide doors for Economic Cooperation and joint investments. The volume of trade investments between the two countries is about two billion U.S. dollars.

Furthermore, the Foreign investments in Turkey amounted to $ 270 billion last year, including 26 million worth Qatari investment.

Turkey enjoys an economically competitive climate led by industry and services sectors which represent 28.1% and 63% respectively of the Turkish economy. Meanwhile the agriculture sector represents 8.9%, and Turkey occupied the rank 16 in terms of gross domestic product in 2011, according to the International Monetary Fund; it also ranked 43 in the Global Competitiveness Index for 2012.

The business trip was finalized by attended the opening ceremony of Retaj hotel in Istanbul on March 15, 2013, where Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim congratulated the Retaj group for this grand opening, and stressed the importance of encouraging and helping the young generation in the country as they are men and future leaders and pioneers of change and wished the hotel success and further development.