• Qatar Qatar

Qatar is a high income World Bank designated country and one of the richest with GDP per capita exceeding $100k at PPP (purchasing power parity) exchange rates.  Qatar's economy relies heavily on its oil & gas sector.  It is one the top natural gas producers and the largest exporter in the world. Economic policy is focused on sustaining Qatar's non-associated natural gas reserves and increasing private and foreign investment in non-energy sectors, but oil and gas still account for roughly 92 percent of export earnings, and 62 percent of government revenues. Proved oil reserves in excess of 25 billion barrels should enable continued output at current levels for about 56 years. Qatar's proved reserves of natural gas exceed 25 trillion cubic meters, about 13 percent of the world total and third largest in the world.

Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup bid is accelerating large-scale infrastructure projects such as Qatar's metro system, light rail system, the construction of a new port, roads, stadiums and related sporting infrastructure. The new Hamad International Airport opened in mid-2014 with an initial annual passenger capacity of 24 million and with a projected 50 million when complete.

Islamic economy:  Even with a small population of 2.2 million (2014, World Bank), Qatar is the 12th largest economy (by GDP size) among the 57 OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) member countries. It also ranks 8th in the Global Islamic Economy Development Indicator developed by ThomsonReuters. The ranking evaluates quality of the overall Islamic economy ecosystem a country has relative to its size.  

Among the Islamic Economy pillars, Qatar is most competitive in Islamic finance (8th), followed by Travel (9th) and Halal food (10th.)  Its competitive Islamic finance ecosystem is represented by $70 billion in Islamic banking assets (2014, ThomsonReuters data) which is about 5 percent of total global Islamic banking assets.  In Travel, its national airline Qatar Airways has become a major global premium brand and has facilitated its tourism growth including as a choice destination for Muslim tourists.  

Qatar has very clearly stated its intentions to become the region’s art hub. The Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) was set up in 2005 to promote the country’s credentials for art, heritage and creativity. Fronted by chairperson Sheikha Mayassa Al Thani, QMA has eight museums and galleries under its remit, including the I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art, which was unveiled in 2008. The Authority wields an estimated annual acquisitions budget of $1 billion.




GIEI Ranking 8
Halal Ranking 5th in Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2015 (The GMTI is developed by MasterCard and CrescentRating)
Major Industries

Liquified Natural Gas

Petroleum Products




Transport Equipment



Source: Central Intelligence Agency


Petroleum and liquefied natural gas are the cornerstones of Qatar's economy and account for more than 70% of total government revenue, more than 60% of gross domestic product, and roughly 85% of export earnings.


Halal-related agencies Intro

General Administration Affairs, Laboratories and Standardization of Qatar provides standards for a variety of industries


Halal compliance guidelines Intro
Halal-related trade and trading

The Supreme Council of Health-State of Qatar confirms that they follow GCC regulations and requirements. Halal products are overseen by Emirates Standardization and Metrology (ESMA).

OIC member Yes
Other regional/global memberships OPEC, United Nations, WTO
Investment and Export Promotion Agencies Intro

Ministry of Economy & Commerce -  The Business Development and Investment Promotion Department provides information and services to clients.

Qatar Investment Authority is the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar.

In 2015 Qatar scored 70.8% on the Heritage Foundation’s Trade Freedom Index. Qatar’s economy has undergone extensive liberalisation in the last decade, although this has been more gradual regarding investment, reflecting a desire to protect local companies and nurture domestic industrialisation.

Investment and Export Promotion Agencies Names Qatar Investment Authority
Trade Agreement

The GCC-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (GSFTA) with Singapore

The U.S. and Qatar signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in 2004.  Qatar detailed in its 2030 Qatar National Vision its intention to move towards a knowledge-based, diversified, and innovative economy.

Bilateral trade between Qatar and its largest Asian trade partners saw strong growth in 2014, most recently when the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) signed multibillion-dollar investment and currency swap deals with China. Development of new special economic zones should see local investment and FDI rise steadily over the medium term, while a host of planned GCC free trade agreements (FTAs) could see international trade volumes expand further in the coming years. (Source: Oxford Business Group)


Company ownership limits
(foreign and local)

Foreign investment is generally limited to 49 percent of the capital for most business activities, with a Qatari partner(s) holding at least 51 percent. However, the law allows, upon obtaining special government approval, up to 100 percent ownership by foreign investors in certain sectors, including: agriculture, industry, health, education, tourism, development and exploitation of natural resources, energy, or mining. Qatar amended the law in 2004 to allow foreign investment in the banking and insurance sectors upon obtaining approval of the Cabinet of Ministers. Moreover, foreign financial services firms are allowed 100 percent ownership at the Qatar Financial Center (QFC). On October 31, 2009, the Council of Ministers agreed on the amendments proposed by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce to allow foreign investors to hold 100 percent ownership in certain activities, including: business consultancy and technical services; information and communication services; cultural services; sports services; entertainment services; and distribution services.


International law firms with 15 years of continuous experience in their countries of origin are allowed to set up operations in Qatar, but the license will be granted only if authorities in Qatar are convinced that the field in which the applying firm specializes is of use to Qatar. On the recommendation of the Ministry of Justice, the Cabinet may reduce the number of required years’ experience or fully waive the condition. Cabinet Decision Number 57/2010 states that the Doha office of an international law firm is allowed to practice in Qatar only if their main office in the country of origin remains open for business. In April 2015 the QFC stopped issuing new licenses to foreign law firms in response to complaints made by local Qatari firms of unfair competition. (Source: U.S. Department of State: 2015 Investment Climate Report-Qatar)