With the present channels of trade drying up in Qatar, businesses in the country are looking for new avenues to source their requirements.
With the present channels of trade drying up in Qatar, businesses in the country are looking for new avenues to source their requirements. The Gulf country Qatar is looking towards India for ready-to-eat, baby products, processed packed food, organic food, tetra-packed juices and less cooking-oriented food.
Leading buyers from that country have evinced interests in buying more from India. According to officials, 17-buyers from that country are coming next month looking for food products at the Indusfood, organized by Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) jointly with Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Post blockade where land and sea routes were closed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, there has been an export surge in few products such as copper wires, graphite rods and ethylene post embargo.
Qatar first tried to ensure supply of most crucial commodities and tapped into India, while both Turkey and Iran opened up trade and Iran has even opened up its port for Qatar, when the trade from Dubai port diminished.
India’s trade with Qatar saw a remarkable jump in the months followed by the blockade –there is a noticeable surge in exports, as there has been deepening of ties between the two countries post embargo.
Talking to FE Online, Ashok Sethi, Director (International Marketing), TPCI, said, “Qatar imbroglio had created an opportunity for India. However, India on the whole has till now failed to leverage good advantage. On the whole trade between the two countries has not seen a discernible growth despite the opportunity.
According to Sethi, “We feel India can seize the opportunity to increase its export of food and beverage products such as sweet biscuits, fresh vegetables and cashew nuts. Judging by the good number of leading buyers that are coming to Indusfood, I think this event will serve as a good platform to fill the requirements of Qatari market.”
“Indian Diaspora constitutes 50% of the Qatari population, and this is the right time to escalate trade figures, especially in Indian originated ethnic foods and Indusfood is the right platform for it,” he added.
After the shutting down of the Jebel Ali port in Dubai that used to be the main hub for shipping Indian consignments to the region, Fujairah port in Dubai has eased its norms. This has resulted in regular shipping services between Mundra Port of India and Hamad Port in Qatar.
A significant development in the region has been the increasing closeness between Iran and Qatar, as Tehran too has opened its port to reroute it to Qatar post the embargo.
The enforced blockade of Qatar had been good for India in the sense that India’s exports to Qatar have expanded by over 87% and Indian companies have acquired a strategic depth in the country. India is one of the largest buyers of LNG from Qatar, which though is not a sizable player in oil production but has largest reserves of gas.