Expressing satisfaction over expanding relations between France and Qatar, French ambassador to Qatar Eric Chevallier has said that as many as 120 French companies have established their facilities in Qatar while Qatari investments in France have touched $20bn.
Labelling bilateral relations as “deeply-rooted”, the ambassador said that the joint venture of Total and Qatar Petroleum which was signed last year would come into force on July 14 this year to develop and operate Al-Shaheen offshore oil field.
“The nature of France-Qatar cordial and strong relations is three-fold: the highest level of relations between Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Father Emir H H Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani with present and former presidents of France; cooperation between the state institutions of two countries and at people-to-people level,” he said in an interview with The Peninsula.
He said that the base of bilateral relations was very “wide” covering almost all fields from security to sport. “This wide relationship covers almost all fields: politics, security, military, economy, education, culture, science, health, sport, etc,” said the ambassador.
Chevallier said that many French citizens were coming to work in Qatar and many Qataris used to visit France for tourism and business purposes.
Citing 2015 figures, the ambassador said that France was the second largest country in the world in terms of exports to Qatar. Last year alone, exports from France to Qatar were worth around $1.8bn.
“It is good for our economy but also contributes to Qatar’s development through our technology, expertise and direct investments in Qatar economy.”
The ambassador said that France was also second largest destination for Qatari investments. “In total, Qatari investments in France have touched $20bn.”
Chevallier said that Qatar was investing in buying shares of major French companies as well as in sectors of hospitality, housing and real estate.
“These investments are at both public and private levels; through Qatar Investment Authority’s affiliated entities, and also include personal investments.”
Asked about the type of products mainly being imported in Qatar from France, the ambassador said that they included airplanes, electrical and mechanical equipment, steel products and last but not the least, luxury items.
The ambassador said that as many as 120 French companies had established their offices and business units in Qatar. “And it does not include franchises” he added.
He said that Qatar Petroleum-Total agreement which was signed last year would come into force on July 14 this year. “Under the deal, a joint venture of both companies will develop and operate Al Shaheen oil field for the next 25 years,” said the ambassador.
Chevallier said that France was also very active in services-sector and was not only providing services to Qatar in various fields but was also “heavily involved” in capacity building of Qatari citizens.