©Reuters. Qatar aspires to increase its investments in Spain
Doha, May 12 (.).- Qatar aspires to increase its investments in Spain, trusting in the economy of the European country, in the good results of its previous investments, in the excellent bilateral relations and in the enormous range of opportunities it offers to many sectors.
This was stated this Thursday in Doha by the Arab country’s Finance Minister, Ali Bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, in a statement with Spanish media, including Efe, on the occasion of the visit that the emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Zani will make to Spain next week.
Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of natural gas and whose public investment funds handle multi-billion dollar figures, makes a “very positive” assessment of the Spanish economy and, therefore, its intention is to “do more in Spain in the future”, since it is “a great economy that is growing at a good pace,” said the minister.
Al Kuwari recalled that Qatar’s relationship with Spain “is already very large in all fields” and exceeds 6,000 million euros, both in bilateral trade and in direct and inverse investment, with the European country as “one of the European leaders in reception of Qatari investment”.
The minister insisted that the new investments that his country intends to make, of which he did not give more details, are based on the fact that the Qatari presence in the Spanish economy “has had good results”, particularly from the point of view of public investments.
“They have been very successful and that is why we will continue to look favorably on Spain in line with the strategy established by the Qatari investment authorities and the public sector. We see opportunities there and specific sectors that are open for investment: infrastructure, energy, airlines, tourism, restaurants… The spectrum is very broad,” he said.
However, and despite the announcement this week by the Qatari authorities that during the emir’s visit to Spain there will be a “big announcement” on investment issues, the minister declined to speak about “specific” actions.
He did indicate that there are “negotiations under way, which have been going on since before the visit, and which can continue during and after.”
As highlights of Spain as a place to invest, the minister indicated that in legal terms “the country is very well positioned”, has the correct regulations, infrastructure and also offers “a very good experience” in relation to previous investments.
“That is why I say that Spain qualifies for Qatar to want to invest further,” he added.
Regarding the opposite path, the arrival of Spanish investment in Qatar, the minister indicated that his country is embarking on an economic diversification plan, with legislative reforms that now allow 100% foreign ownership of companies, tax-free zones and direct and indirect incentives to attract capital.
THE PRICE OF GAS
To protect investment in his country, the minister stressed that despite the global context marked by the energy crisis and the blows of the covid-19 pandemic, Qatar presents “very good” economic data.
“In economic terms we were very good. We had a budget surplus in 2021 of 1.6 billion riyals (422 million euros) and the outlook we have for this year will be 34.6 billion rials (9.1 billion euros), because of the energy prices, which are a problem for some but good for Qatar,” he summarized.
In this sense, Al Kuwari explained that the gas price crisis is due to the fact that there is “a hole in the supply” caused by a very high increase in demand after the passage of the pandemic.
“That was expected in a way. But in terms of supply, there was no investment in the last few years (before Covid) and basically this did not change much while demand went up very high. And that sent energy prices skyrocketing. And as long as we don’t see more investment in this field, and that’s not going to happen in a couple of years, there will be a transition period to reach equilibrium,” he added.
This situation of high energy prices, however, is not good for Qatar.
“It is not good for us, as we are the world’s largest exporter of natural gas. It is not what we want, we want a fair and good price that is affordable for both the supplier and the buyer. It is beneficial for us, we do not want inequity to have good balances in the short term and problems in the long term,” he added.