EghtesadOnline: The Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade is planning to send a trade delegation to conduct a market survey in Qatar, amid the recent rift between Doha and four Arab states, namely Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, the head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture’s Agriculture Commission has announced.
Ahmad Sadeqian was also quoted as saying by ICCIMA’s news portal on Wednesday that the ministry and its affiliate body, the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, are forming a delegation of mainly food producers to dispatch them to Qatar as soon as possible to assess the country’s market demands.
The Saudi-led Arab coalition severed ties with Qatar on Monday over Doha’s alleged support of terrorist groups across Middle East, as well as its intention to strengthen ties with Riyadh’s perceived arch-rival in the region, Iran. Qatar has denied the accusations.
Saudi Arabia and its regional allies cut all land, sea and air links to the gas-rich Qatar. The small peninsular sheikhdom, which relies on Persian Gulf neighbors for a majority of its consumer product supplies, has seen food trucks lining up at its only land border with Saudi Arabia and panicked residents rushing to the grocery stores, Financial Tribune reported.
“The government should urgently start talks, use lobbies and devise comprehensive plans to increase the presence of Iranian companies in Qatar,” Sadeqian said.
“This way, we can take advantage of this golden opportunity in the best possible manner. In fact, if we do not act immediately, we might lose this market to rivals like Turkey.”
Masoud Polmeh, chairman of the Shipping Association of Iran also called on the government on Tuesday to lower the fuel cost for vessels in the Persian Gulf to make marine transport to Qatari ports economical.
He said the association is ready to establish shipping services to Qatar from the southern Iranian ports, Bushehr in particular.
“We can say with confidence that we are able to meet 100% of the food demand in Qatar,” he said.
Qatar is in talks with Iran and Turkey to secure food and water supplies amid concerns of possible shortages two days after its biggest suppliers, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, cut trade and diplomatic ties with the import-dependent country, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
“We are in talks with Turkey and Iran and other countries,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, adding that the supplies would be brought in through Qatar Airways cargo flights.
The official said there were enough grain supplies in the market in Qatar to last four weeks and that the government also had large strategic food reserves in Doha.
The latest annual trade data released by Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization shows Iran exported $146.6 million worth of goods, including carpet, cement, steel pipes, beams and industrial oil to Qatar in the fiscal 2016-17.
The Arab state, in return, exported commodities worth $3.1 million, including vehicles, steel products and pharmaceuticals, to Iran during the period.