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Turkey to Expedite Efforts on Transit to Qatar via Iran

Turkey to Expedite Efforts on Transit to Qatar via IranTurkey to Expedite Efforts on Transit to Qatar via Iran

Turkey’s Customs and Trade Minister Bulent Tufenkci said Ankara will accelerate efforts to facilitate transit through Iran, especially to increase trade with Qatar.

Noting that Ankara has been opposed to the “unfair and unlawful” embargo imposed by a Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries on Qatar last year from the beginning, Tufenkci said Turkey stood by Qatar and its people and extended political, economic and military support, Turkish paper Daily Sabah reported.

“Trade volume between the two countries, which was around $784 million in 2015, reached $788 million as of November 2017, even though it dropped to $678 million in 2016,” he said.

Tufenkci made the statements at the Turkey-Qatar Business Forum organized by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey and Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Doha.

Turkey, Iran and Qatar have recently signed a transportation pact for boosting trade among the three countries. Turkey’s Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci and his Qatari counterpart Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani were in the Iranian capital Tehran back in November to sign the agreement with Iran’s Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari.

Under the agreement, Iran will be the transit country between Turkey and Qatar. The deal is expected to help accelerate commodity delivery and facilitate trilateral trade, Anadolu Agency reported.

The agreement will lead to the creation of a “joint working group to facilitate the transit of goods between the three countries”, IRIB News reported, adding that the three nations aim to tackle “obstacles to sending goods from Iran and Turkey to Qatar”.

“Iran is playing an important role in the transport of goods from Turkey and Azerbaijan to Qatar,” said the Qatari minister in a bilateral meeting with Shariatmadari.

Saudi Arabia, aided by Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt, cut ties with Qatar in June, accusing Doha of backing extremism, a charge that Qatar denies.

Since the crisis erupted, Iran and Turkey have sought to help break Qatar’s isolation, including by increasing food exports to the kingdom.

Turkey and Azerbaijan have been using Iran as a land route to export to Qatar, filling the gap in the market in the absence of Saudi Arabia and its allies since the Arab rift.

According to Mohammed bin Mahdi Al Ahbabi, a board member of Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the land route between Turkey and Qatar via Iran reduces the cost of goods transport by about 80% compared to air cargo.

Latest statistics released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show Iran exported $139 million worth of non-oil goods to Qatar during the seven months to Oct. 22, registering a remarkable 117.5% increase compared with the same period of last year.

Notably, Iran’s exports to Qatar saw a significant growth during the month to Oct. 22. Iran exported about $50 million of non-oil products to Qatar during the one-month period, which shows a fivefold surge YOY.

Yet, Chairman of Shiraz Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture Jamal Razeqi Jahromi believes Iran has lagged behind Turkey in seizing opportunities in the Qatari market after the Arab embargo.

The Shiraz chamber is in charge of Iran’s exports to Qatar as well as to Syria, Iraq and Russia.

“Iran’s exports to Qatar have faced a lot of problems such as high transport costs, high end prices of domestic products, unprofessional business approaches, among others,” he said.

Jahromi stressed that Iran can increase its non-oil exports to Qatar, especially cast iron, metal, steel, organic chemical compounds, plaster, lime, cement, dairy products and other food products.

 

Qatar May Ask Iran for Help in  Hosting World Cup

Football’s World Cup in 2022, to be hosted by Qatar, was always billed as a regional event.

Other countries in the Persian Gulf offered hotel rooms and training facilities. The UAE said it would even host matches, but last June, it joined a Saudi Arabia-led blockade and broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar, The Economist wrote.

On the sidelines, a substitute is warming up: Iran. It is in early talks with Qatar to take on some of the hosting duties. Iran is already helping to feed Qatar amid a Saudi-led blockade. Its islands of Kish and Qeshm have hotels aplenty that could accommodate fans.

Though Qatar promised to build 100,000 hotel rooms by 2022, it will struggle to reach 45,000. Germany had two million foreign spectators for its World Cup in 2006 and Russia hopes for more than one million later this year.

Qatar may come up short on stadiums, too. It says eight will be ready by 2022, not the 12 it promised.

Qatar plans to commission cruise liners and even to use migrant labor camps (upgraded, of course) to hold fans. Kuwait, Oman and Jordan, which have maintained ties with Qatar, could also play a role.

But some Persian Gulf states show no sign of wanting to make up. On New Year’s Eve, the UAE projected every Persian Gulf country’s flag onto the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, except Qatar’s. Saudi Arabia refused to display it at a recent chess tournament in the kingdom.

 

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