Qatar, February 15, 2017 Show Video
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A Canadian Business Council Qatar is being established to serve as a platform to strengthen business ties between Canada and Qatar, Canadian ambassador Adrian Norfolk has announced.
“Our trade and investment relationships continue to grow – you probably will not know that the first offshore oil concessions in Qatar were granted in 1949 to a Canadian Company,” the envoy said in his speech at Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation celebration in Doha yesterday. The event was attended by Qatar’s Minister of Education and Higher Education HE Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Chief of Protocol Ibrahim Yousif Abdullah Fakhro, American Affairs Department director Zayed bin Rashid al-Mansour al-Nuaimi, ambassadors from various missions in Doha, and other dignitaries.
More than 60 Canadian companies and organisations are currently active in Qatar’s key sectors, including infrastructure, healthcare, defence and security, education, oil and gas, ICT, aerospace, and transportation, ambassador Norforlk told Gulf Times earlier in the day.
Many are small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and the number is expected to grow as they recognise the opportunities available in the country. He also announced that a Canadian company expressed a strong interest in organising a possible conference in Qatar for Canadian SMEs.
“Canada today has a range of existing collaboration in sectors as wide-ranging as: infrastructure, defence and security, oil and gas, food services, legal services, architectural services, transportation, branding and marketing, and recreational products,” he said. In his speech, Norfolk cited the contribution of Martin Zablocki, president and CEO of the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a key partner and institution of the Canadian government helping Canadian exporters access foreign government markets.
He stressed that government-to-government, commercial, institutional and people-to-people partnerships between Canada and Qatar are all doing well.
In 2016, the envoy noted that Qatar’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Public Health, and Education and Higher Education visited Canada while in 2017, the embassy received the Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of International Trade in Doha.
In the area of security co-operation, he said Canadian military officers have been stationed in Qatar at the Al Udeid Airbase since 2003. The numbers increased in 2014 when Canada joined the global coalition. In 2016, the envoy added that Qatar also assisted in the release of a Canadian hostage held in Afghanistan.
“There is no greater act of friendship that a country can do for another country than to help in securing the safe return of a citizen held as a hostage, and for that we are grateful,” he stressed. Norfolk hopes that Canada and Qatar will complete a formal bilateral Defence Co-operation Arrangement that will further enhance the two countries’ partnership.
“February 15th marks the National Flag of Canada Day – although worthy of celebration in its own right, we are using this symbolic day to celebrate Canada’s 150th year of Confederation – it was on July 1st 1867 that the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick united to form what was then called the Dominion of Canada,” the envoy added.