The US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC) organised a business visit to Los Angeles, California, on March 18th to engage with key policy makers and the local business community to expand and enhance economic partnerships between Qatar and the Los Angeles Area economic community.
The business visit featured Mansoor Al-Sulaitin, Consul General of State of Qatar in Los Angeles; Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles; Lou Correa, representative for California’s 46th Congressional District; Fahad Al-Dosari, Qatar Commercial Attaché to the United States; Mohammed Barakat, USQBC Managing Director and Treasurer of the Board of Directors; Maria S. Salinas, President and CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and Peter McPartlin, Paramount Pictures Executive Vice President for Strategic Planning and Business Operations.
The business visit kicked off with a virtual meeting between Mohammed Barakat, Managing Director and Treasurer of the Board of Directors of USQBC; Fahad Al-Dosari, The State of Qatar Commercial Attaché to the US; and Representative Lou Correa (CA-46). Participants discussed the importance of the relationship between Qatar and the metropolitan area of Los Angeles and ways to enhance future business & investment ties.
During the Business Seminar hosted at the Sheraton Grand Los Angeles, participants were able to network, learn, and explore business opportunities between California and the State of Qatar. Maria S. Salinas, the President and CEO of Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce delivered the welcome remarks for the seminar and welcomed attendees to participate in business discussions.
“International trade is a key component of the Los Angeles regional economy and the Chamber believes all organizations should have an opportunity to participate in the global marketplace.” said Maria S. Salinas, President and CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.”
This was followed by opening remarks by the Consul General of State of Qatar in Los Angeles, Mansoor Al-Sulaitin; and Mohammed Barakat, Managing Director and Treasurer of the Board of Directors for USQBC.
“Qatar is eager to build upon our flourishing commercial & investment partnership with California. Both California and Qatar are consistently ranked as some of the best places in the world to do business in,” said Mansoor Al-Sulaitin, Consul General of State of Qatar in Los Angeles. “Over the next few years, and with FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 around the corner, the world’s first carbon-neutral World Cup, we anticipate even greater opportunities to expand our thriving partnership going forward.”
“The Los Angeles Area and Qatar already have a thriving commercial partnership spanning many areas including construction & engineering, ICT, and financial services,” said Mohammed Barakat, Managing Director and Treasurer of the Board of Directors of USQBC. “This visit underscores the importance of building upon this success and forging new business & investment ties across a wide variety of industries.”
During the business visit, Fahad Al-Dosari, The State of Qatar Commercial Attaché to the United States; and Mohammed Barakat, Managing Director and Treasurer of the Board of Directors of US-Qatar Business Council, presented on Qatar’s attractive economic environment and the strength of the US-Qatar business relationship.
“The State of Qatar is committed to expanding the economic partnership with California by promoting Qatar’s commercial environment across a diverse range of industries, including IT & Software, Hospitality, Entertainment & Tourism, Financial Services and Life Sciences,” said Fahad Al-Dosari, Qatar’s Commercial Attaché to the United States. “This visit demonstrates the commitment Qatar has to attracting US companies to consider Qatar as a hub for expansion into regional markets while benefiting from Qatar’s robust investment incentives.”
Qatar has a number of investments and connections in California. Qatar Investment Authority has invested in Califia Farms, Mesosphere, Codak Bioscience, GRAIL, ThoughtSpot, Uber, and SoFi. QIA, in partnership with a hedge fund, has also bought Gigacom and real estate in Los Angeles.
During the course of the business visit, the delegation then met with Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles at City Hall. The participants were able to discuss opportunities for commercial investments in both Los Angeles and in Qatar.
Qatar’s investments in the US are continually growing with one of the focuses on media industry. One of the Qatar Investment Authority’s (QIA) key investments was in Miramax Films, which is now jointly owned by Doha-based beIN Media Group and Paramount Global – parent company of Paramount Pictures.
“We were very pleased to acquire our stake in Miramax, along with distribution and first look agreements relating to its film library and IP. Our dealings with Doha-based beIN Media Group went very well,” said Peter McPartlin, Paramount Pictures Executive Vice President for Strategic Planning and Business Operations.
Following the site visit to Paramount Studios, USQBC hosted the delegation at a business reception at SOHO House in West Hollywood which allowed participants to further expand upon business discussions and opportunities for collaboration.
The bilateral business ties between the United States and Qatar continue to solidify with the total economic relationship between them exceeding $200 billion as of 2019. The US is Qatar’s largest foreign direct investor with a total of $110.6 billion in FDI and is the largest single source of exports to Qatar at $6.5 billion in goods in 2019. In the past five years, Qatar has imported over $23 billion from the US, and over 850 US companies now operate in Qatar.
Qatar is also an increasingly large investor in the United States having pledged over $45 billion in investment over the coming years with key investments already having been made across multiple sectors including oil & gas, financial technology, real estate, food production, and hospitality, among others.