(MENAFN- Gulf Times) The Advisory Council held its weekly session yesterday under the chairmanship of HE the Speaker Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid al-Mahmoud.
The session was attended by HE the Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed al-Thani to discuss the economic and trade policies and assure citizens of the sustained economic stability and future prospects in light of the unjust siege imposed on the country and the post-siege era.
The Speaker praised the economic and commercial policies of the state, which His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani laid down. The policies enabled the country to overcome the effects of the siege since its inception, move towards a new stage of self-reliance and high levels of production and diversification of sources of income, and establish major projects of which some have been already implemented and others are being implemented, in an effective and professional manner.
The Speaker welcomed the Minister of Economy and Commerce, expressing his thanks for accepting the invitation and attending the session, which saw extensive discussions on the state's economic and trade policies and the current and future plans and programmes of the ministry.
The discussions included the state of the Qatari economy after more than nine months of the unjust siege imposed on the country; the economic policies adopted by the country and its success in facing the siege, containing and overcoming its negative effects, and economic plans and policies for the post-siege phase; the state strategy to diversify sources of income and develop the productivity of non-oil sectors; the state policies towards supporting the private sector in implementation of His Highness the Emir's directives, and the foundations under which this support is granted and the extent of success achieved in this important area; Qatari exports, foreign trade, Qatar's new markets, Qatari national product competitiveness, and national product initiative; the flow of imports through state ports, the availability of basic consumer goods in the market, the efforts of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce to stabilise prices and make them affordable for all and eliminate the phenomenon of disparities in commodity prices; and opening of new channels with brotherly and friendly countries to accelerate the supply of goods and products to local market, while diversifying their geographic distribution and geopolitical extension.
They also included the size of the gross domestic product (GDP), the growth rate and surplus achieved by the country's trade balance; the volume of investments in various productive and service sectors and the extent of success in attracting foreign investments, and the effectiveness of the laws in force in encouraging and securing investment, providing environment and climate conducive to increase it and stimulate investors, and the expected positive effects of the draft non-Qatari capital investment law; and providing important investment opportunities not only in food security but also in the logistics, sports, tourism, health and other vital sectors, along with the state's efforts to increase foreign investment flows to the Qatari market; and launching a package of incentives for landholders in the logistics areas to reduce production costs and reduce rental prices.
The discussions highlighted that the contribution of non-oil sectors to GDP has reached 52% in 2017; foreign trade increased by 16% in 2017; exports increased by 19% to $68bn in 2017 compared to $57bn in 2016; the country's trade balance achieved a surplus of 40% in 2017; GDP increased to $220bn in 2017 compared with $218bn in 2016, or 2% at constant prices; the World Bank expects our national economy to grow by 2.6% in 2018; and Qatar's occupied advanced international positions in the economic and commercial indicators.
After the discussions, the Speaker thanked HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed al-Thani, on behalf of the Advisory Council members, for explaining, providing information and answering questions and inquiries regarding the unjust siege imposed on the
The Council also reviewed the agenda of a meeting held by the Speaker and a number of the Council members with a delegation from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) Parliamentary Assembly last Thursday. The delegation was comprised of a number of members of national parliaments of Nato countries which are interested in foreign policy, security, defence and foreign affairs.
The Speaker said the meeting discussed the relations between the Advisory Council and the Nato Assembly, and ways to boost and develop them. In addition, they reviewed a number of topics of common interest.
HE al-Mahmoud said the meeting touched on the economic and legislative renaissance witnessed in Qatar, the rights guaranteed by the Qatari constitution to all citizens, where he highlighted the appointment of four women to the Advisory Council.
He added that he had spoken about the unjust siege imposed on Qatar, its violations with regard to global law, its disrespect to the principles of good neighbourliness and its fallout on the relations of the regional countries.
The Speaker also praised the agreement signed between Qatar and Nato in Brussels on March 7, regarding co-operating on military and security matters, which was witnessed by His Highness the Emir.
The Speaker revealed that the delegation confirmed the Nato Parliamentary Assembly's support to all the diplomatic efforts exerted to resolve the Gulf crisis. The delegation also praised the development and progress in Qatar in different fields and welcomed the agreement signed between Qatar and Nato, which takes the relations between both parties to a new strategic co-operation, consolidating security and peace in the region, he
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