World Cup 2022: New Possibilities for Mexico-Qatar RelationshipBy Yemile Mariana Tuma | Mon, 10/19/2020 - 13:30
This year, Mexico and Qatar celebrated the 45th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations. In 2014, our countries decided to open reciprocal embassies, with the Mexican embassy opening in Qatar in 2015 and Qatar opening its embassy in Mexico in 2016.
Since then, we have witnessed important advances in this relationship. There has been notable progress in all areas, but above all in the commercial and business sectors, which have been key for the association of our countries.
Qatar now has a GDP of more than $183 trillion and is home to a population of 2.8 million people with the privileged distinction of having the highest per capita income in the world. This data clearly reflects Qatar as a country with an important position within the region and the world. This is due to several factors, including its position as a leading player in the energy sector, as it is the world's largest natural gas exporter and the second-largest producer of per capita oil barrels, with production of around 2 billion barrels per day. In addition to oil, Qatar has seen significant growth in the manufacturing, finance, insurance, real estate, construction, tourism, transport and telecommunications industries, giving Qatar a diverse, complex and balanced economy.
Mexico's exchange with this important trade partner has increased considerably in recent years. It’s worth noting that from 2018 to 2019, exports of Mexican products to Qatar recorded growth of 134 percent, while Mexico’s imports from Qatar increased by 30 percent. The growth of our commerce continues to intensify, and even with the current challenges, our exchange of goods already exceeded $54 million in the January to June 2020 period, according to data from the Mexican Ministry of Economy.
The trade between the two countries is diverse. Unlike trade with other territories in the region, it is not limited to agricultural and livestock products like meat, fruits and vegetables, but includes high value-added products from the automotive industry, electronics and appliances. Meanwhile, Mexico imports excellent-quality Qatari fabrics, as well as chemical and manufactured products.
These dynamics have been the result of intense work and coordination between the public and private sectors. In alliance with the Arab Mexican Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CAMIC), a large number of Mexican companies have been advised and aided in positioning their products in the Qatari market through trade missions carried out in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economy and the Mexican Business Council for Foreign Trade, Investment and Technology (COMCE), such as those effected in 2011 and 2012.
As recently as January 2020, CAMIC visited Qatar to strengthen relations with public and private entities with the aim of continuing to contribute to the positioning of Mexico as a strategic trading partner, as well as to strengthen ties with Qatari food import companies.
The strengthening of Mexico's trade relationship with Qatar promises opportunities for business in both countries, especially through the opening of new supply channels in all sectors that are involved in the organization of the World Cup in 2022, which Qatar will host.
QATAR: ‘YOUR GATEWAY’ TO OPPORTUNITIES IN THE WORLD CUP
In December 2010, the State of Qatar was announced as the official venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, thus becoming the first country in the region and in the Arab world to host this important global sporting event.
An international event like this one shines the spotlight on the host country, encouraging tourism, investment in infrastructure projects and a substantial increase in international trade by means of food, services, construction, communication and all other sectors that are involved in the preparation of an event of such magnitude.
Several sources indicate that Qatar has earmarked more than $200 billion for development related to this grand event. The figure covers the construction of stadiums, road projects, a new airport and hospitals. This development project is open to Mexican companies that can be suppliers or contractors in any of these areas, providing the opportunity to engage in supply projects within the country.
Undoubtedly, one of the success stories is that of the Mexican company, Dünn Arquitectura Ligera, which since 2017 has participated in the construction of domes for some of the iconic football stadiums that are being built in Qatar for the World Cup.
Other notable opportunities can be found in the food and beverage industry, which is one of the usual beneficiaries at these types of events, and even more so for the event in Qatar, which currently imports about 90 percent of the food it consumes internally, mainly because of its lack of internal production due to its arid climate. This percentage will likely increase as the world football event approaches and demand for food products rises due to the increase in both service providers and tourists associated with this sort of affair.
This World Cup has a forecasted attendance of between 1.2 million and 1.7 million international visitors who, according to official reports, are expected to make a per capita spend of $79 dollars per day on an average stay of three to 11 days during the event. It will be essential to provide a wide range of food and beverage alternatives. The impact on the food and beverage industry as a result of the World Cup will be significant. To name one example, in 2014, the World Cup in Brazil recorded sales in this segment of $359.8 million.
The agricultural products that Mexico already exports in great quantity to Qatar, such as avocado, berries, lemons, guavas and vegetables, could be in even larger demand. The country will also be open to the possibility of marketing other products that were previously unavailable in order to satisfy the demand for the variety of tastes and nationalities that will be present at the event.
Mexico and Qatar have increasingly enhanced their relationship in a number of areas. The 2022 FIFA World Cup is an exceptional platform to continue to expand the presence of Mexican products in Arab countries, and also to continue to increase trade between our two great nations.