Following the severing of diplomatic ties with Qatar by many of its regional neighbours, most notably by Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, the Qatar government has reacted promptly to stabilise the economy and ensure commercial and trade relations remain undamaged. The government has also stated that it intends to continue its current infrastructure and development program on the same timetable as before The general reaction from the market is that it remains business-as-usual.. Many British companies have reported that the trade embargo has not yet had any significant impact on their UK-Qatar business.
The primary impact has been the need to reroute cargo (both flights and shipping) via Oman and Kuwait. The Qatar authorities have moved swiftly to agree new measures to strengthen the trade and shipping links with the Omani ports of Sohar and Salalah and similarly to reinforce air links with Kuwait, Muscat and other hubs in the wider region. That net effect has inevitably meant small delays to cargo shipments and increased transportation costs. But overall, the impact has not been as dramatic as initially feared and shipments are now arriving on a regular basis.
The British Chamber of Commerce Qatar (BCCQ) remains confident that the long-term economic prospects for Qatar look exceedingly strong. While it is hard to say how quickly and amicably the dispute will be resolved, attractive business opportunities in all sectors remain for UK businesses to expand trade with Qatar. In the eyes of the business community in Qatar the breakdown in relations has not affected commercial and economic affairs unduly. For those UK companies with existing business in Qatar or immediate prospects, the British Chamber would encourage you to renew contact with your key customers and partners and make early plans to visit the market. For those UK businesses based in UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia or who trade with Qatar through partners and agents based there we would urge you to contact the British Chamber to discuss how best to approach the market in the light of the current trade embargo.
The British Chamber of Commerce Qatar would like to encourage those who have enquiries about the current commercial market in Qatar to contact us. We are happy to provide further information and advice to UK businesses keen to trade in Qatar.
The British Chamber of Commerce Qatar
18th July 2017
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