The US is keen to continue enhancing its partnership with Qatar not only during the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic but particularly after the health crisis is resolved, an official of the US Chamber of Commerce has said.
These partnerships, according to US Chamber of Commerce senior vice president for Middle East and Turkey Affairs Khush Choksy, are spread across sectors such as sports, construction, energy, defence, education, and cybersecurity, among others.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Choksy noted, American companies specialising in the health sector have been working on immunisations and to ensure safety during large gathering of crowds, citing Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“With post Covid-19 and mass gatherings, a number of our companies have talked about their experience and what services they could offer, and I think many US companies in the health sector have a lot to share,” Choksy told Gulf Times via video conference together with US Chamber of Commerce vice president of Middle East Affairs Steve Lutes and the chamber’s manager for Middle East Affairs, Liz Clark.
Citing ongoing infrastructure work for the World Cup stadiums, Choksy noted that US companies “have a lot to give” in areas like physical security and cyber intelligence, as well as cybersecurity and sports entertainment.
While partnerships in traditional industries like energy, construction, finance “are stable,” Choksy stressed that Qatar also needs partners in a number of new areas “and we would like to see those opportunities being articulated tangibly by the authorities concerned.”
“The Covid-19 experience has shown that the US is leading in certain technologies; while the country has been highly-impacted by the pandemic, the world has relied on many American platforms and other services…I think that should not be lost in terms of what the US will bring in the fields of education, healthcare, technology, and sports that Qatar can draw upon,” he explained.
Lutes, on the other hand, emphasised the significant role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which he described as dynamic, nimble, and very adaptive.
“And in a time like this, while they might be squeezed in terms of budget, they are often times in a position to move a lot more quickly. This is an opportunity for both governments to look at how to engage SMEs creatively and how to come out of this health crisis, and to grow the relationships; more than ever, now is a great time to engage in SMEs,” Lutes said.
Asked about its role in assisting Qatar-based American companies cope with the challenges of the pandemic, Clark said the US Chamber has been hosting virtual meetings and serving as an information bridge between the Qatari government and the private sector.
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