Export Britain


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Ease of trading across borders

Importing a standard container of goods into Qatar requires:



Qatar has the world’s highest GDP per capita and is expecting economic growth to hit almost 4% in 2016, despite low oil prices. Qatar’s large-scale infrastructure investment makes the long term prospects for Doha UK businesses highly attractive. UK businesses remain a partner of choice across all sectors. It could not be a better time to explore opportunities in Qatar.

Economic snapshot (% annual growth rate)

GDP 4.2 3.7 3.7
Export of goods and services -5.0 -39.0 4.7
Import of goods and services -1.0 -8.5 8.2
Inflation 3.3 1.7 3.5
Exchange rate (per $) 3.6 3.6 3.6
Population 4.6 4.4 1.9
Source: Oxford Economics

Economic outlook

GDP rose a relatively modest 6.4% in the first half of 2012, this is less than half the 13% growth posted in 2011 as a whole. Growth is becoming increasingly dependent on government spending and the non-oil sector. The economy appears to have grown at a similar pace in second half, despite further oil weakness and unfavourable external factors. Government spending and high oil and gas revenues are driving the economy, with GDP growth forecasted at 6% in 2012 with weakening in growth to 5.5% expected for 2013.

Trade outlook

Qatar is currently diversifying its export partners away from Europe towards Asia and the emerging markets. Japan, South Korea and India are amongst the top export partners for Qatar. This is driven by increased demand for oil, especially in South Korea and Singapore.  Italy, UK, and France will climb up the ranks as Europe reduces its dependency on Russia for its oil and gas supplies. Despite this, overall share of exports to Europe will decline in the medium term. Qatar’s imports are more diverse and include cars and infrastructural goods as well as agricultural produce. Qatar will continue to receive one fifth of its imports from Europe, followed by the Middle East and North Africa. The UK lags behind Ukraine, Germany to be placed as the 11th largest import partner for Qatar.

Cultural tips

Essential Customs tips

De minimis: No de minimis value – duties and taxes must be paid on all items shipped to Qatar. All business to consumer shipments must have the receiver ID number on the waybill for clearance upon arrival. All food products require approval from Qatar Ministry of Health and the date of manufacture and expiry must be on the packaging and on each item. 

SWOT analysis

Stable marketplace with good long term prospects
English widely spoken and understood
UK systems and standards often apply
Familiarity with UK brands
94% of its labour is carried out by foreigners
External debt
2022 World Cup Rising living standards
Heavy reliance on the hydrocarbon sector
Middle East conflict

Qatar's trade with the UK

Sector segmentation growth

Sectors to watch:
  • Garments
  • Coke & refined petroleum products
  • Basic chemicals & fertilisers


  • plaster, concrete etc
  • basic chemicals

Fastest-growing exporters into Qatar

1 US
3 Saudi Arabia
4 Japan
5 France
6 China
7 Denmark
8 Germany
9 Italy
10 India

Total merchandise trade - Leading import partners

Total merchandise trade - leading import partners
Opportunities for UK businesses

Qatar has a strong economic position compared to many other countries, it fared comparatively well throughout the global economic downturn. The country’s low tax rate, codified rule of law, and welcoming policies for foreign investment have led to significant partnerships with a number of the world’s leading global enterprises. Many opportunities exist in the infrastructure sector, particularly as Qatar undertakes many major projects such as seven new stadia for the World Cup and a vast array of ancillary construction. Transport projects such as the Doha metro and national rail network also present opportunities. 

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