– An Interview with Qatar’s Ambassador to China, Sultan bin Salmeen AI Mansouri
By staff reporter ZHANG HUI
Qatar, a country occupying the Qatar Peninsula on the Arabian Peninsula, is often referred to as one of the richest countries in the world with its per capita income standing at US $60,812 in 2017, backed by having the third largest number of natural gas reserves and thirteen largest number of oil reserves in the world.
An important trade partner of China, and a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Qatar will also appear at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) and hold an economic forum at the expo.
Days before the CIIE, Qatar’s Ambassador to China Sultan bin Salmeen AI Mansouri, sat down with China Today for an exclusive interview.
Sultan bin Salmeen AI Mansouri, Qatar’s Ambassador to China
An Import Power Emerging
“I think it’s a very good move from China to initiate this type of expo. We had a concept in the past that China only exported things. Now China is importing,” AI Mansouri told China Today.
The ambassador believes that the first CIIE provides a fantastic opportunity for companies from around the world to get better acquainted with the needs of Chinese consumers and showcase themselves. “From the expo, they will get to know what type of materials or items might be suitable to be imported to China,” he said.
AI Mansouri further commented, “It’s really great to gather so many countries into one place, talking about importing to not only China but all over the world. It will be a very good opportunity to see what will come out from this type of expo.”
Presently, Qatar is China’s second largest gas importer, and China is Qatar’s second largest importer. The ambassador indicated, “Energy is still the leading field for trade with China. Qatar is one of the leading energy exporters in the whole world, and I think energy is one of our main assets. On the other side, we also have petrochemicals, which are also important items for the Chinese market.”
According to the ambassador, a delegation consisting of officials from trade, tourism, energy and industry sectors of the Qatari government will attend the first CIIE, during which they will hold an economic forum at the expo on the morning of November 7 that will be open to all Chinese and international companies.
Seeking More Cooperation
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of China-Qatar diplomatic relations. The two sides announced their strategic partnership in 2014, and signed a memorandum of understanding on jointly building the Belt and Road. A founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Qatar is also home to the first RMB offshore clearing center in the area of West Asia and North Africa.
"Qatar has supported it (the Belt and Road Initiative) from the very beginning, because we know it is very beneficial not only for China but for the whole world. The initiative is based on the existing history, the old Silk Road. And China has brought it to life again. We got involved in its mechanism straight away, and decided that we would not be merely a transit port or a transit stop along the routes,” the ambassador told China Today.
According to the ambassador, the last two years have seen a sustaining trade increase between the two sides. “The opening of direct flights from Shanghai to Doha and from Guangzhou to Doha has increased the amount of trade between the two countries,” he remarked.
AI Mansouri observed, “The Chinese market is very stable and very promising as well at the same time. So I think for the next ten years, Qatar will still focus on the China market either for investment or for other aspects.”