The purpose of the mission was to convey the message to U.S. policymakers that Qatar is an attractive destination for business and knowledge development. The delegation discussed opportunities and conditions for U.S. companies in Qatar and U.S. commercial relations with Qatar with governmental departments, members of Congress, organizations and the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington, DC.
The delegation was comprised of members of AmCham Qatar’s Executive Committee, including Chairman Robert Hager, Managing Partner of Patton Boggs LLP Doha Office, Vice Chairman Carl Atallah, President, Chevron-Qatar, Secretary Izzat Dajani, CEO & Chairman of Citibank Qatar and Executive Director Keri Stooksbury. The team was also joined by representatives from member companies based in Washington, DC including David Traynham, Director of Transportation Policy at The Boeing Company and Amol Dani, Special Advisor, Strategic Business Development and Operations at Georgetown University.
The AmCham Qatar delegation met with several governmental departments, the most high profile meeting of which was with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Susan L. Kurland, Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs. At this meeting the delegation reviewed Qatar’s many infrastructure projects that AmCham Qatar members such as AECOM, KBR, Parsons International and Overseas Bechtel, Inc. are involved in, including the New Doha International Airport, New Doha Port, Lusail Light Rail, Ashgal road districts updates and road safety programs. Opportunities for American firms in future infrastructure projects were also discussed, with a focus on the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The delegation also met with Michael C. Camuñez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance with the U.S. Department of Commerce / International Trade Administration and collaborated on ideas for U.S. business expertise in Qatar with an emphasis on the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Meetings were also held with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the State Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs, the Middle East Partnership Initiative and the U.S. Department of Energy.
AmCham Qatar representatives also met with select members of Congress, many of whom have previously visited Qatar, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Congresswomen Kay Granger (R-TX) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Congressmen Mike Kelly (R-TN), Todd Young (R-IN), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Peter Welch (D-VT) and Mike Conaway (R-TX). Representatives also met with from the offices of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Congressmen Dave Camp (R-MI), Kevin Brady (R-TX), Nick Rahall (D-WV), Mike Kelly (R-TN) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) as well as staff from the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The delegation held meetings with organizations the National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, the Arab American Institute and the US-Qatar Business Council. Members were welcomed at the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington, DC in a special meeting with Ahmed Bin Youssef Al-Rumaihi, Chargé d’Affaires.
According to U.S. International Trade Data from the U.S. Census Bureau, commercial ties between the U.S. and Qatar have grown exponentially in the last five years with trade volumes growing by 162% from $1.5bn in 2006 to $4bn in 2011. Over the same period, U.S. exports increased 119% to $2.8bn, making the U.S. the largest import partner for Qatar. AmCham Qatar member American-based ExxonMobil, the largest publicly traded international oil and natural gas company, is the largest U.S. foreign investor in Qatar and has invested $18bn to date in the development of Qatar’s energy resources.
Concluded Chairman Robert Hager, “Increasing U.S. trade with Qatar is important for AmCham Qatar as it benefits the U.S. economy and creates jobs. While in Washington, DC we encouraged American policymakers to visit Qatar’s key business decision makers to explore trade opportunities. We were energized by the reception we received and encouraged for future opportunities for U.S. businesses in Qatar.”
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