DOHA: Qatar and Mexico are working aggressively to deepen and strengthen economic and investment relations by expanding the volume of trade, investment and joint ventures in both the countries.
Several Mexican companies are planning to establish businesses in Qatar to make Doha as the regional hub of their rapidly growing and expanding operations in the Middle East, while many others are looking forward to set up factories and manufacturing units in the country to serve Qatar as well as the other overseas markets from Doha, according to a senior official of the Mexico’s Ministry of Economy.
“Bilateral trade and cooperation between Qatar and Mexico is growing fast. Several Mexican companies are expanding their operations in Qatar, while many Qatari firms are in the process of investing in the promising sectors of the Mexican economy, including oil & gas, power, agriculture, food, automotive among others,” said Juan Cepeda, Director of ProMexico (Middle East), the trade and investment promotion arm of the Ministry of Economy.
Cepeda added: “ProMexico is a state agency, which is different from other export promoting agencies. We are not only working to promote Mexican goods and services in overseas markets and attracting FDI to Mexico, but also facilitating Mexican firms to invest in other countries, including in Qatar.”
Major exports from Mexico to Qatar include heavy vehicles, cars, refrigerators, engineering equipment, food products such as fresh beef and agro products, while Qatar’s exports to Mexico are LNG, aluminium and other items. The trade exchange between Qatar-Mexico is close to QR700m, which is set to grow fast.
Dunn Lightweight Architecture, a subsidiary of the Mexican company Dunn Arquitectura Ligera SA de CV, which has won two bids for the construction of roof and façade of Lusail and Al Rayyan stadiums being developed for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, is looking forward to setup a factory to manufacture some of the products in Qatar.
“The company specialises in fabric and tensile structures made of special membrane,” said Cepeda.
… Currently some 40 Mexican engineers are working with Dunn in Qatar,” said Cepeda.
Some of the Qatari companies which are investing or exploring investment opportunities in the North American country include Qatar Petroleum (QP), Qatar Investment Authority (through its subsidiaries), Qatar Tourism Authority, Hassad Food and many private firms.
QP has won exploration rights in 5 offshore blocks in Mexico becoming the first energy company from the GCC to invest in Mexico.
On the project related to Hassad Food, negotiations are still ongoing. It implies a joint investment in Mexico and Qatar in a patented food technology and premium dates grown in northern Mexico, close to Arizona and California (US).
Another investment from Mexico to Qatar is by KidZania, a privately held Mexican chain of indoor family entertainment centres, which is currently developing a theme park near Vilaggio in collaboration with Aspire Zone Foundation. The edutainment facility, which is set to open by the fourth quarter of this year, will allow children to role play adult jobs and earn currency.
Cinépolis, which means ‘City of Cinema’, a Mexican chain of movie theaters, will have its first theatres in Al Tawar Mall located in Duhail, Qatar.
Yet another Mexican firm, a high-end fashion brand (name not disclosed) is soon going to open its showroom in a luxury shopping centre located along the Al Markhiya Street.
Japanes and Korean automobile giants, Nissan and KIA Motors’ cars and auto parts, manufactured in Mexico, are also entering the Qatari market.
In the food segment, Qatar was the first country to award Halal certificate to a Mexican beef exporting company. The products are already available in the local market.
In 2017 Gusi Group was one of the first Mexican firm to send beef shipments to Qatar with Halal certification. The company was the first to specify the sale of 200 tonnes of beef during the year. The expectation is to export meat products for up to $20bn to the Arabian Peninsula. Last December a Mexican firm Grupomar sent the first shipment of 200,000 can of tuna in water, with salad, mayonnaise, Salman and chipotle to Qatar worth $150,000.
“A Mexican firm Tuny, which exported some 120,000 cans of Tuna fish at the end of last year, is looking to expand its operations in Qatar and the GCC. In addition, there are a lot of other products, such as barriers, pharma products, medical devices, mobile phones, and other items are exported from Mexico to Qatar. Both the countries are also planning to improve the shipping lines, air connectivity, and logistics services to boost bilateral trade,” said Cepeda.
In the energy sector, Tenaris Tamsa, the Tenaris Industrial Center in Mexico, is one of the largest in the world in the manufacture of steel tubes, pipes for the oil and gas industry, is also planning to make Doha its regional hub to serve the region better.
Cepeda noted that Mexico is also developing five special economic zones, one of them is dedicated to food and agro products and one is dedicated to oil and gas sector, which are offering huge investment opportunities to local and foreign companies, including those from Qatar. They are being developed in relatively less developed provinces, therefore, offering attractive benefits to investors.
He said that one more Mexican company (name not revealed) is planning to open a distribution centre in Qatar to distribute Mexican products across the country.