EghtesadOnline: Qatar is seeking to increase bilateral trade with Iran, said the Qatari Minister of Economy Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani in a meeting with Iranian Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari in Tehran on Saturday.
The Qatari official who is heading an economic and trade delegation to Iran said that bilateral interactions between the two sides have significantly increased during the last few months.
“Foodstuff and construction material have been Qatar's main imported goods from Iran,” Mehr News Agency quoted him as saying.
Iran and Qatar have been forging stronger economic ties ever since a number of Arab states—led by Saudi Arabia—abruptly severed diplomatic relations with Doha early June and imposed a blockade on the Persian Gulf country, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups. The Qatari government has denied the accusation, blasting the blockade as unjustified and a violation of international law. Following the development, Iranian exporters have vied for the Qatari market in the absence of Doha's traditional Arab partners, Financial Tribune reported.
Latest statistics released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show Iran exported $139 million worth of non-oil goods to Qatar during the seven months to October 22, registering a remarkable %117.5 increase compared with the same period last year. Notably, Iran's exports to Qatar saw a significant growth during the month to October 22. Iran exported about $50 million of non-oil products to Qatar during the one-month period, which shows a five-fold upsurge year over year.
"Iran is playing an important role in the transport of goods from Turkey and Azerbaijan to Qatar," the Qatari minister added.
Turkey and Azerbaijan have been using Iran as a land route to export to Qatar, filling the gap in the market in the absence of Saudi Arabia and its allies after the crisis broke out. According to Mohammed bin Mahdi Al Ahbabi, a board member of Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the land route between Turkey and Qatar via Iran reduces the cost of transport of goods by about 80% compared to air cargo.
Shariatmadari, for his part, said given that Qatar will be hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Iran’s technical and engineering services can meet the needs of the Qatari market.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said back in September that the Saudi-led economic blockade on Qatar is pushing it closer to Iran economically.
"They (Saudi Arabia and its allies) said Qatar was now closer to Iran. By their measures they are pushing Qatar to Iran," he was quoted as saying in Paris.