Following the embargo on Qatar led by Saudi Arabia and imposed by four Gulf states in early June, Turkey's exports to the country increased 90 percent, adding a new link to emerging Turkish-Qatari economic relations. Last year, exports to Qatar from June to September was $114 million, and this year nearly doubling to $216 million.
The Aegean Exporters' Association (EİB) attended the Food and Consumer Industries Exhibition (FCIE), organized for the first time from Oct. 26 to Oct. 29, in Qatar's capital city Doha in order to promote Turkish food products, represent Turkey's export companies, improve Turkey's current trade with Qatar and increase Turkish exports.
EİB Coordinator Sabri Ünlütürk said that Turkey provided the most support after the blockade of Qatar was put into place, saying that food aid was delivered with a large number of vessels and air cargo flights from İzmir. He continued by saying that Qatar-Turkey Business Forum and Bilateral Business Talks was held in İzmir on Aug. 3 and saw the attendance of economy ministers and more than 300 businesspeople from the two countries in collaboration with the Aegean Exporters' Association. He said that FCIE provided an opportunity for Turkish exports to expand bilateral trade volume between the two countries.
Noting that Qatar is the wealthiest country in the world in terms of per capita income, Ünlütürk said for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar, $150 billion worth of infrastructure and construction will be realized. This vast market offers Turkish contractors an opportunity to increase their share in the country, he said. Of the 250 largest contractors worldwide, 46 are Turkish firms, and Turkey ranks second in the world after China in this sector, he continued.
Ünlütürk also said that Qatar's food production can only cover 10 percent of the country's domestic consumption. As food consumption is estimated to increase by 8 percent in 2019, he said imports covering the large majority of food consumption and the high purchasing power of Qatari companies are great advantages for Turkish food exporters. In that regard, he said the FCIE is expected to open new opportunities for Turkish food exporters.
A total of 91 companies from eight countries participated in the FCIE, and Qatari Chamber of Commerce Vice Chairman Muhammed bin Ahmed bin Towar al-Kuwari, Turkey's ambassador to Doha Fikret Özer and Burak Güreşir, a commercial counsellor at the Turkish Embassy in Doha, were among the visitors to Turkey's info stand. In addition to the EİB, the Dardanel and Exeloo Food companies from Turkey also attended the exhibition. Exports to Qatar reached $382.2 million from January to September this year while the amount of exports to the country stood at $296.9 million in the same period of 2016, an increase of 29 percent. Food exports to Qatar in the first nine months of this year jumped from $57.5 million to $114 million, an increase of 98 percent compared to 2016. Aquaculture and animal products led the way in Turkey's food exports to Qatar at $38 million.