San Francisco, California – The US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC), organized a business visit to San Francisco, California, on March 22nd to engage with key policymakers and the local business community to expand and enhance economic partnerships between the State of Qatar and the San Francisco area economic community.
The business visit featured the following representatives:
“San Francisco is a flourishing hub for technology with its surrounding area of Silicon Valley being the center of technology and innovation,” said His Excellency Mansoor Al-Sulaitin, Consul General of State of Qatar in Los Angeles. “Qatar itself is a leading technology hub in the Gulf and is continuously seeking further partnerships and investment opportunities to solidify its technological expertise.”
“California companies will find it easy to establish and conduct business in Qatar,” said Fahad Al-Dosari, The State of Qatar Commercial Attaché to the United States. “Our government has several programs underway to encourage investment across a range of industries, including Renewable Energy, ICT, and Smart Cities, to achieve economic diversification and sustainability from which California businesses, specifically SMEs, could benefit.”
Upon arrival, the delegation met with Sean Randolph the Senior Director at the Bay Area Council Economic Institute to discuss business and investment opportunities specific to the Bay Area, while introducing the flourishing commercial landscape in Qatar. He said, “The Bay Area is a global region and international business is part of its DNA. There are many opportunities in the Gulf region waiting to be explored, and engagements like this both reinforce longstanding ties and help build new ones.”
During the Business Seminar hosted at the Fairmont Hotel San Francisco, participants were able to network, learn, and explore business opportunities between California and the State of Qatar. Mohammed Barakat, USQBC Managing Director and Treasurer of the Board of Directors delivered the welcome remarks for the seminar and welcomed attendees to participate in business discussions.
Mohammed Barakat, Managing Director and Treasurer of the Board of Directors of USQBC said, “Qatar and the City of San Francisco are already close economic partners, and this visit demonstrates the commitment to expand this relationship. We look forward to assisting San Francisco’s businesses in their international expansion and export development.”
During the business visit, Fahad Al-Dosari, The State of Qatar Commercial Attaché to the United States; and Mohammed Barakat, Managing Director and Treasurer of the Board of Directors of US-Qatar Business Council, presented on Qatar’s attractive economic environment and the strength of the US-Qatar business relationship.
Qatar has a number of investments and connections in California. Qatar Investment Authority has invested in Califia Farms, Mesosphere, Codak Bioscience, GRAIL, ThoughtSpot, Uber, and SoFi. Qatar Investment Authority led $500 million in equity financing for SoFi, one of America’s top fintech companies, and invested $200 million in Eat Just, Inc., a company that applies cutting-edge technology to create sustainable foods; both of which are in San Francisco.
During the course of the business visit the participants visited and toured Salesforce Tower and then met with Eric Loeb, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs at Salesforce. During the meeting the participants discussed ways to expand and enhance collaboration between Salesforce and the State of Qatar.
Following the visit at Salesforce, the delegation departed to San Francisco City Hall to meet Mark Chandler, the Director at San Francisco Mayor’s Office of International Trade and Commerce. Participants discussed commercial and investment opportunities between Qatar and the City of San Francisco.
The bilateral business ties between the United States and Qatar continue to solidify with the total economic relationship between them exceeding $200 billion as of 2019. The US is Qatar’s largest foreign direct investor with a total of $110.6 billion in FDI and is the largest single source of exports to Qatar at $6.5 billion in goods in 2019. In the past five years, Qatar has imported over $23 billion from the US, and over 850 US companies now operate in Qatar.
Qatar is also an increasingly large investor in the United States having pledged over $45 billion in investment over the coming years with key investments already having been made across multiple sectors including oil & gas, financial technology, real estate, food production, and hospitality, among others.