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Progress seen for FTA with Qatar

Gulf Times, Qatar

Progress seen for FTA with Qatar

Business Reporter

23 March 2007

The United States hopes the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Qatar will make some headway this year, a senior American official has said.

Israel Hernandez, director-general at the US Commercial Service International Trade Administration, said in Doha yesterday the FTA could move forward if the US Congress approved “the reauthorisation of the trade promotion authority” later this year.

“We have started the dialogue with Qatar for an FTA some three years ago. But it has to go through several stages before the actual free trade agreement can be clinched. We are now going through them,” Hernandez said.

However, he admitted discussions with the UAE on the FTA were at a “lot more advanced stage” than with Qatar.

So far the US has four FTAs with Arab countries. Since 2001 the US trade with the Arab countries has totalled $100bn.

The bilateral trade between the US and Qatar stood at $1.7bn in 2006. The US exports to Qatar totalled $1.3bn while Qatar exported goods worth $400mn to the US last year, Hernandez added.