Workshop on The Future of Services in Qatar Following the Order of WTO and FTA

16 May 2005 Sheraton Hotel

QBA Members attended

Under the Auspices of

HE Sheikh Mohamed Bin Ahmed Al Thani

Minister of Economy and Commerce


Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) organized a special workshop on “The Future of Services in Qatar Following the Order of WTO and FTA” under the auspices of and inaugurated by HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce, on May 16, 2005.

The main topics of the workshop were the fundamentals of WTO and FTAs, impacts of trade agreements on the local markets, and the underpinning opportunities and challenges for the local private sector.

The opening speech was given by HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Thani, followed by a speech for Sheikh Faisal bin Qasim Al Thani, Chairman of QBA. Other panelists included were Mr. Ahmed Ahen, Director of Economic and Commercial Organizations Department at the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, Mr. B. K. Zutshi, Former Indian Ambassador to GATT, Mr. Ram Chandran, Partner of KPMG, and Dr. Gamal Zarrouk,  Director of the Economic Division at the Arab Monetary Fund.

In his Keynote address, B K Zutshi said that no country could afford to remain alone at a time when the world is fast turning into a global village. Speaking on the growing role of the service sector

in various economies, Zutshi said countries like Qatar, which are facing challenges in this context, could join multi-lateral trade agreement to benefit in the long run

"Studies and experiences have showed that each partner in such agreement has reaped dividends over the years", said the Indian analyst, citing examples.

Highlighting the increasing role of free Trade Agreement (FTA), Zutshi argued that such treaties provide developing nations market access to those economies where they could otherwise find it difficult to operate.

It also substantially improves the quantum of goods produced in one country as such treaties facilitate the easy movement of goods to foreign markets,” he said.

The foreign markets elsewhere on account of trade agreements, it is imperative to improve the quality of goods produced in less development economy.

“Cost-effectiveness and efficiency in services are two other positive results of any multilateral trade agreement” he added.

Zutshi noted that wherever the share of the services sector is substantial, usually over 70%, the economy is then perceived to be on a strong wicket..

Decisions do not always go in favor of stronger nations, Zutshi said, pointing out that the United States has lost more than 50% of its disputes, the latest one against Antigua & Barbados, a tiny Caribbean Island.

Referring in particular to Qatar, the Indian official said it was time the country fully honored the commitments it had made to the body in 2001, when Doha hosted the WTO conference, that later came to be known as the Doha Round.