Chicago, Illinois – The US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC) organized a business visit to Chicago, Illinois on November 17th to engage with key policymakers and the local business community to expand and enhance economic partnerships between the State of Qatar and the State of Illinois.
The visit featured the following officials:
The business visit kicked off with a virtual meeting between the group and Congressman Darin Lahood, US Representative from Illinois’ 18th District. Participants discussed the importance of the relationship between Qatar and the State of Illinois and ways to enhance future business & investment ties.
During the Business Luncheon hosted by USQBC the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, participants were able to network, learn, and explore business opportunities between the State of Illinois and the State of Qatar.
The following representatives delivered remarks during the luncheon:
“The State of Qatar and the State of Illinois are both flourishing trade hubs and some of the world’s most dynamic economies,” said Mohammed bin Sultan Al-Kuwari, Consul General of the State of Qatar in New York City. “This visit demonstrates the commitment of Qatar to forging new partnerships as well as expanding trade & investment with Illinois. We look forward to a prosperous future together.”
“Both Illinois and Qatar are some of the best places in the world for business and we see many opportunities for Illinois-based companies in Qatar and welcome Qatari investment to Illinois,” said Mohammed Barakat, Managing Director and Treasurer of the Board of Directors of USQBC. “This visit demonstrates the commitment both sides have to increasing investment and commercial ties across their many overlapping industries.”
“Companies from Illinois 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 Illinois-based businesses, specifically SMEs, could benefit.”
Following the conclusion of the Business Luncheon, the delegation departed to meet with Michael Fassnacht, President & CEO of World Business Chicago and Chief Marketing Officer for the City of Chicago, to discuss opportunities for further trade and investment between the business communities of the city of Chicago and the State of Qatar.
The delegation then departed to Northwestern University Campus in Evanston, Illinois for a site visit. They were given a tour of the facilities and were informed about the engagement between its campus in Illinois and its campus in Qatar. Northwestern University is a private research university and is the oldest chartered university in Illinois and is ranked among the most prestigious academic institutions in the world.
In 2008, Northwestern University partnered with Qatar Foundation to open the university’s first international campus in Qatar. It offers students the opportunity to study media and earn a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism or communication.
Qatar and the State of Illinois already share a thriving business relationship, with the total exports from Illinois to Qatar amounting to $74.5 million in 2019, which far exceeded the amount Illinois imported from Qatar the same year, which equaled $630,292.
In 2012, Al Faisal Holding Company LLC in Qatar, through Seldar Holdings – the North American business development arm of its wholly owned Al Rayyan Tourism and Investment (ARTIC) – acquired the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago.