Nearly four months after Governor Eric Holcomb led an economic development delegation to Qatar, representatives from the Qatari commercial attache’s office will today make a stop in Indianapolis. The delegation is set to meet with the governor, officials from the Indiana Economic Development Corp., and Hoosier companies to talk about business opportunities in Qatar. Mohammed Barakat, managing director of the U.S.-Qatar Business Council, says the goal of the visit is to continue the developing relationship between Indiana and Qatar.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Barakat said the Indiana and Qatar already have a good relationship, particularly when it comes to exports.
“Indiana exported more than $43 million worth of goods in 2020 and they only exported around $76,000 from Qatar, so the balance is in favor of Indiana,” said Barakat. “We’re seeing the numbers climbing up, which means there’s more potential for more growth. Indiana actually is the fourth-largest goods exporter to Qatar in the Midwest and it’s the 12th-largest in the U.S. Understanding the several industries and sectors in Indiana will help us direct more Indiana companies for more opportunities in Qatar.”
Fahad Al-Dosari, commercial attache of the State of Qatar to the U.S., will be part of the delegation to visit Indy. Barakat says the visit aims to provide information for both sides to continue the relationships.
“We thought coming to Indiana…to talk to businesses, explore more of the opportunities that are available potentially for them in the Qatari market, understand what can be offered from several of the Indiana companies – either large, small or medium-sized companies – that will help us direct them towards these potentially opportunities…and hopefully grow the businesses in Indiana and allow them to export or potentially receive investments.”
Barakat says there are needs in Qatar that could be fulfilled by Indiana-based businesses and the visit to Indy will allow the Qatari representatives to learn more about how that could be done. He says Indiana companies have a lot to offer.
“There’s a lot of potential opportunities that have not been explored,” he said. “I know there is also a lot of agricultural technologies that can be explored and the Qataris are heavily looking into such technologies either to bring in or to invest in. So, that will grow that relationship and we look forward to see it just getting more further and further in a better place.”
According to the IEDC, Indiana’s top exports to Qatar include chemicals, electrical equipment and appliance components, and transportation equipment. Additionally, several Hoosier businesses such as Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) and Columbus-based Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) have strong presences in the Middle East with affiliates serving Qatar.
Barakat says the Indiana and Qatar already have a good relationship, particularly when it comes to exports.