The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), one of the world's leading and fastest growing onshore business and financial centres, joined world leaders from government and global organisations during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Russia.
Qatar and Russia have enjoyed a long history of strong bilateral relations and have witnessed a significant leap forward in recent years through joint collaborations and investments in the fields of trade, banking and finance, technology, and oil and gas.
The QFC attended the forum as part of a Qatari delegation, which included high-level executives from the QFC, as well as senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Qatar National Tourism Council, Qatar Investment Authority, Ooredoo, Qatar Airways, Qatar Chamber, Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Qatar Free Zones Authority and others.
In addition, the CEO of the QFC participated in a panel discussion entitled: 'How Can Financial Centres Survive in the Era of FinTech?' alongside other global leaders. The CEO also took part in two other panel discussions entitled "Doing business in Qatar" and "Qatar the Future Trade Hub", where the potential for cooperation between Qatar and Russia, and the overall competitive advantage of the Qatari market for businesses and international investors were discussed. The QFC also held several high-profile meetings with channel partners from industry and trade.
Qatar and Russia have enjoyed a long history of strong bilateral trade relations and this has been reaffirmed through recent agreements that aim to further strengthen relations in several fields and to enhance joint cooperation, especially in economic and trade fields.
The financial industry has undergone a significant transformation over the past 5, 10 years – from increasing mergers and consolidation, to the shifting of fintech from a peripheral concern to a central one.
Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC
Al-Jaida added: "I am therefore delighted to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum for the very first time, alongside other thought leaders from around the world to engage in productive high-level discussions."
Furthermore, the QFC attended sideline events hosted by H.E. Fahd Bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, Ambassador for the State of Qatar to the Russian Federation, and SBERBANK, one of the leading state-owned Russian banking and financial services company.
SPIEF has been held since 1997, and since 2006, it has been held under the auspices of the President of the Russian Federation, who has also attended each event. Over the last 20 years, the Forum has become a leading global platform for members of the business community to meet and discuss key economic issues facing Russia, emerging markets, and the world as a whole. Furthermore, Qatar is poised to be the official guest host country during the 2020 edition of SPIEF, and a sideline event is also expected to take place in Qatar.
SPIEF offered a great platform to engage with important entities such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation; Business Russia, an organisation that unites thousands of Russian SMEs; and the office of the Republic of Sakha, the largest subnational governing body by area in the world.
We look forward to building closer ties and partnerships, and exploring key opportunities for both inward and outward business growth in such a primary market.
Sarah Al-Dorani, Chief Marketing Officer, QFC
Qatar ranks highly in terms of its global competitiveness and attractiveness. According to the 2018 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report, Qatar ranks 30th globally, and second regionally overall for global competitiveness for the second consecutive year. Qatar is also 1st regionally in the Global Entrepreneurship Index and 9th globally for its adoption of information and communications technology into the country's industries, and 10th globally for its growth of innovative companies. Furthermore, Qatar's GDP is expected to grow by 2.6% in 2019, and 3.2% in 2020, according to the IMF.
The QFC is an onshore jurisdiction that allows registered companies to enjoy competitive benefits, such as working within a legal environment based on English common law, the right to trade in any currency, up to 100% foreign ownership, 100% repatriation of profits, 10% corporate tax on locally sourced profits, and an extensive double taxation avoidance agreement network with 81 countries.