U.S. pledges closer economic, trade ties with ally Qatar

09:34, June 13, 2010      

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The United States on Saturday pledged closer economic and trade ties with its Gulf Arab ally Qatar.

The message was conveyed by visiting Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez, the Qatar News Agency reported.

Sanchez said the United States supports economic diversification plans adopted by Qatar and the country's building of necessary infrastructure towards a strong nation.

Qatar houses the largest U.S. air base in the Mideast and has been an intimate ally of Washington politically and economically in the past decades.

The tiny emirate's economic growth outperformed its Gulf neighbors in the past years and its financial prowess is presented by its sovereign wealth fund that operates an estimated 70 billion U.S. dollars globally.

Sanchez called on Qatari firms to invest in the United States, saying his country encourages U.S. firms to eye long-term investment ventures in the emirate.

Bilateral trade volume has grown by 397 percent in the past 5 years, Sanchez said, adding the two countries are expected to ink 11 agreements in the days to come.

Qatar is the world's top liquified natural gas (LNG) producer and currently produces 55 million tonnes of LNG per year. The emirate has a plan to lift that capacity to 77 million tonnes by the end of this year.

The United Sates has been maintaining a close relationship with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council which also groups Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain.

Source: Xinhua


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