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Qatar: Further reforms would help sustain growth

Trade Policy Review: Qatar

Further reforms would help sustain already impressive economic growth

Qatar’s development strategy, together with high international crude prices since mid-1999, has resulted in an impressive economic performance in the past few years, with an average growth rate of around 9% over the period 1996-2003, according to a report on the trade policies and practices of Qatar published by the WTO Secretariat.

Despite Qatar’s diversification efforts, the economy is still dominated by oil and gas (56.1% of GDP, around 70% of public revenue, and almost 90% of total merchandise export earnings). Qatar has been implementing measures to improve its business and investment climate, with the objective of further attracting foreign direct investment. Nevertheless, foreign companies remain excluded from investing in certain key activities, such as banking, insurance and commercial services.

The report notes that Qatar’s market remains quite open despite the slight increase in protection following the implementation of the common external tariff of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of which Qatar is a member. It also stresses that the country needs to bring some elements of its trade regime more up to date and into greater conformity with WTO provisions. Continued reforms, including on tariffs and privatization, and further improvement of Qatar’s multilateral commitments, both on goods and services, would contribute to better resource allocation and increase the predictability of its trade regime.

© Scoop Media

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