Blockading countries to be biggest losers in Qatar crisis: Qatari minister
İpek Yezdani - DOHAThe Gulf countries imposing blockades on Qatar are the biggest losers in the recent crisis in terms of trade, Qatar’s Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani has said, noting that the impact of the crisis on the Qatari economy was very small.
“We know that the blockading countries are the biggest losers in this trade because we used to import from them more than we exported to them. So the trade balance worked in favor of them. So now their companies stopped exporting to us,” al-Thani said in an interview with daily Hürriyet on July 26.
He noted that some Gulf companies that worked in Qatari projects halted their works because their countries - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain - asked them to return.
“So they lost their contracts here. They lost; their factories lost exporting to Qatar. For us, yes, we export to them some products and we used to import from them, but we quickly found alternatives for our imports. End of story. For us, it is business as usual. We are importing and exporting,” al-Thani said, adding that Qatar Airways is flying to 150 destinations all around the world except the blockading countries.
Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties and imposed sanctions on Qatar last month, accusing it of financing extremist groups and supporting terrorism. Qatar strongly denied the accusations.
Al-Thani noted that the impact of the blockade over the Qatari economy was very limited.
“First of all, after the crisis, we had a clear plan of how to deal with this from the economic side. We are the biggest exporter of LNG [Liquefied Natural Gas] in the world. We are the biggest exporter of GTL [Gas-to-Liquids] in the world. We are the biggest exporter of helium in the world. And we are one of the biggest exporters of petrochemicals in the world. We export to South East Asia, Europe, Latin America, and all across the world. Our exports have not been affected at all,” he said, adding that out of the country’s total trade, only 8 percent was with the blockading Gulf countries.
The minister also thanked Turkey for its support to Qatar after the blockade.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a two-day tour to Gulf countries over the weekend in a bid to negotiate an end to the dispute between the Arab countries.
Turkey sent hundreds of cargo planes, trucks and one ship to Qatar to serve the countries daily needs since the beginning of July.
Qatar ‘thankful to Turkey’
Al-Thani said that in the first hours of the crisis the country had put a plan into life and it worked with partners.
“Especially Turkey played a major role. We brought dairy products, poultry, fruits and vegetables and other consumer goods; our daily needs. So, the Qatari people did not feel a change from the day before. Especially in the first days, Turkish companies played a very important role in providing all the necessary consumer goods to Qatar. For that, we are all thankful to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the government of Turkey and the people of Turkey, who stood with us, with their heartfelt support,” he said.
“We are asking Turkish companies not only to consider more trade with Qatar but also to consider actually investing in Qatar. We will come to them to invest in different industrial sectors, services and other sectors here in Qatar,” al-Thani added.