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U.S. Trade Mission to Middle East Wraps Up in Qatar
March 17, 2014

Group of people standing
U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker poses with participants in Qatar as she and representatives of 21 American businesses wrap up their successful trade mission to the Middle East.

14 March 2014

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker wrapped up her Middle East trade mission March 14 in Qatar, where delegation members explored the many opportunities for U.S. businesses due to the country’s growing economy and its interest in investing in infrastructure and transportation.

As part of National Vision 2030, Qatar’s broad strategy for growth and development, the country is focused on making meaningful advances in education, sustainability and economic diversification, the U.S. Commerce Department said in a March 14 blog post.

Qatar is currently preparing to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and is therefore undertaking numerous new construction projects, renovations and upgrades to get ready for the games and the influx of visitors they will bring. The country will need more than $150 billion in infrastructure investments before 2022, the Commerce Department said.

The representatives from 21 U.S. companies accompanying Pritzker on the trade mission met with Qatari leaders to explore business opportunities. On March 13, Pritzker and the business delegation met with His Excellency Essa Bin Hilal Al-Kuwari, president of the General Water and Electricity Corporation (Kahramaa). They discussed how U.S. companies can get more involved in future Kahramaa water, power and smart grid projects.

The group also met with Nasser Al Mawlawi, president of the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), which is leading publically funded road projects in advance of the 2022 World Cup. Ashghal has already selected several U.S. engineering and construction firms, including AECOM Technology Corporation, a member of the trade mission’s business delegation, to lead major projects.

Pritzker also met with Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary-general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, who is in charge of preparations for the World Cup. She congratulated Al Thawadi on the successful bid to host the World Cup and highlighted the close collaboration between U.S. and Qatari companies on major infrastructure projects related to the event.

Attracting Qatari investment to the United States was also a big focus of the visit, the Commerce Department said. On March 13, Pritzker met with Ahmad Al Sayed, CEO of the Qatar Investment Authority, founded by the Qatari government to diversify the country’s economy. She talked about the United States as an investment destination and highlighted SelectUSA, a Commerce Department–led federal initiative to promote business investment, as a resource for Qatar as the country seeks to expand its investment portfolio.

Pritzker reached out to government leaders on her visit as well, notably His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, emir of Qatar, as well as Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani, prime minister and minister of interior. She emphasized the strong relationship between the United States and Qatar and the Commerce Department’s commitment to enhance the two countries’ commercial relationship.

Also on March 13, Pritzker participated in an armchair discussion hosted by AmCham Doha and the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce. During the discussion, she expressed the Commerce Department’s strong support for U.S. companies working to help Qatar reach its development goals.

The Commerce Department called the trade mission “a successful effort” that “demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a sustained economic partnership in the Gulf region.”