Qatar, Belgium expect to ink deals worth millions

A Belgian delegation led by Belgium's Princess Astrid, is scheduled to meet with high-level government officials from March 22 to 23 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Doha.

Between 10 and 15 contracts and MoUs are expected to be signed between Qatar and Belgium this coming week.
Between 10 and 15 contracts and MoUs are expected to be signed between Qatar and Belgium this coming week.

Belgian Foreign Trade Agency director general Marc Bogaerts said that between 10 and 15 contracts and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) are expected to be signed between Qatar and Belgium.

This would take place during a two-day high-level economic mission, led by Belgium's Princess Astrid due to be held in Qatar. The delegation is scheduled to meet with high-level government officials, during the Qatari-Belgium Economic Forum 2015 to be held from March 22 to 23 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Doha, attended by 400 delegates, including 267 Belgian firms.

"This is what we know so far because we are still consolidating our data, but we would be able to provide details of the other types and total value of the contracts to be signed during the economic mission when the high-level meetings have started," Bogaerts told Gulf Times.

The contracts and MoUs will involve investment opportunities in the medical and health fields, as well as in the clean technology (cleantech), luxury goods, and education sectors, Bogaerts said.

Belgium recorded 475 participants in a previous economic and trade delegation to China. Nevertheless, Bogaerts described Princess Astrid's visit to Qatar as a "record mission" with the participation of 267 Belgian companies compared to the 220 that joined in the China trip.

"We will focus on sectors that would create a win-win situation for both countries," Bogaerts said, which include sports infrastructure, construction and building, information and communications technology (ICT), energy, environment and cleantech, and food and beverage.

Charlotte Struye, head of the Economic Department of the Flanders Investment & Trade, stressed the role of Belgian companies specialising in clean technology in supporting Qatar's food security programme.

"One of these companies has a good relationship with Qatar University and QSTP (Qatar Science & Technology Park), and it is one way of strengthening the existing ties between the two countries. But on the other side, one of the goals is for Qatar to become self-providing when it comes to growing vegetables and fruits in the future," she explained.

She added, "I hope this would result in a long-term collaboration with Qatar instead of only importing fruits and vegetables from other countries. I believe it would be beneficial to focus on this initiative in order for the next generation to be self-providing in terms of food," the daily reported.

Aside from the high-level meetings, Struye said the economic mission will also highlight presentations and seminars on various industry sectors, including energy and sustainability.

"We will focus on waste management, clean air, and a presentation on a 'carbon-neutral' Qatar. Hopefully, the Belgians can hold best practices sharing sessions with their Qatari counterparts, especially with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.

"In the field of agriculture, the session will also provide significant inputs where Belgians could share best practices and knowledge-transfer for the future. In Europe, Belgium is known 'the garden of Europe' because we have a long history in agriculture, including irrigation systems, how to work water for agriculture. We have very nice weather here in Qatar but water is necessary," Struye also added.


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