Qatar, Bahrain forge closer ties to ASEAN

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Qatar’s Emir Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani shaking hands with Vietnamese communist party Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong as they meet in Hanoi in January 2012 (Vietnam News Agency)

The two wealthy Gulf states of Qatar and Bahrain are intensifying their economic relations to ASEAN states. While Bahrain is marketing itself as a destination and GCC gateway for Malaysian investment, Qatar is working together with the Vietnam government on skills development for workers and large investment projects.

Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, adviser to the Bahrain Crown Prince for political and economic affairs and board member of the Economic Development Board of Bahrain, said in an interview with Malaysian news agency Bernama that his country has invited Malaysia’s business community to invest in the country’s infrastructure, Islamic finance and manufacturing sectors.

Shaikh Khalifa said that the Bahrain government will step up its public spending on such projects, enabling Malaysian investors to benfit from the strong stimulus effect. He added that opportunities will open up in infrastructure and social housing, as well as in trade, construction, agriculture, food production, information and communication technology, education, science and technology, as well as tourism. One special focus lies on expanding the Islamic finance sector, a field in which Malaysia is believed to have the biggest expertise worldwide.

But Bahrain also wants to act as a “gateway” to the entire GCC region, with excellent transport links and close economic relations to the other five GCC members Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Oman.

In another move, Qatar has said it will work together with the Vietnam government to train Vietnamese workers directly in their home country for deployment in the GCC nations. An agreement has been reached between Vietnam and Qatar to set up a training centre and the land for it has already been allocated, the Gulf Times reported.

The centre will focus on the language and cultural issues related to the region and Qatar in specific. It aims at increasing the number of the Vietnamese labour force in Qatar and GCC countries in general, the report said.

The Vietnamese ambassador in Qatar, Le Hong Phan, said that he also saw the possibility of a Vietnamese construction company opening its headquarters in Doha in a joint venture with a Qatari investor soon. At the same time, Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co, part of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, is untertaking real estate development projects in joint ventures in Vietnam at a combined investment volume of $4 billion, he said.

There is also the multi-billion Long Son Petrochemical project currently in process in Vietnam where Qatar has a 25 per cent stake along with Petrovietnam and SCG Chemicals Company of Thailand as joint-venture partners.

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Qatar’s Emir Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani shaking hands with Vietnamese communist party Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong as they meet in Hanoi in January 2012 (Vietnam News Agency)

The two wealthy Gulf states of Qatar and Bahrain are intensifying their economic relations to ASEAN states. While Bahrain is marketing itself as a destination and GCC gateway for Malaysian investment, Qatar is working together with the Vietnam government on skills development for workers and large investment projects.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Qatar’s Emir Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani shaking hands with Vietnamese communist party Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong as they meet in Hanoi in January 2012 (Vietnam News Agency)

The two wealthy Gulf states of Qatar and Bahrain are intensifying their economic relations to ASEAN states. While Bahrain is marketing itself as a destination and GCC gateway for Malaysian investment, Qatar is working together with the Vietnam government on skills development for workers and large investment projects.

Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, adviser to the Bahrain Crown Prince for political and economic affairs and board member of the Economic Development Board of Bahrain, said in an interview with Malaysian news agency Bernama that his country has invited Malaysia’s business community to invest in the country’s infrastructure, Islamic finance and manufacturing sectors.

Shaikh Khalifa said that the Bahrain government will step up its public spending on such projects, enabling Malaysian investors to benfit from the strong stimulus effect. He added that opportunities will open up in infrastructure and social housing, as well as in trade, construction, agriculture, food production, information and communication technology, education, science and technology, as well as tourism. One special focus lies on expanding the Islamic finance sector, a field in which Malaysia is believed to have the biggest expertise worldwide.

But Bahrain also wants to act as a “gateway” to the entire GCC region, with excellent transport links and close economic relations to the other five GCC members Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Oman.

In another move, Qatar has said it will work together with the Vietnam government to train Vietnamese workers directly in their home country for deployment in the GCC nations. An agreement has been reached between Vietnam and Qatar to set up a training centre and the land for it has already been allocated, the Gulf Times reported.

The centre will focus on the language and cultural issues related to the region and Qatar in specific. It aims at increasing the number of the Vietnamese labour force in Qatar and GCC countries in general, the report said.

The Vietnamese ambassador in Qatar, Le Hong Phan, said that he also saw the possibility of a Vietnamese construction company opening its headquarters in Doha in a joint venture with a Qatari investor soon. At the same time, Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co, part of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, is untertaking real estate development projects in joint ventures in Vietnam at a combined investment volume of $4 billion, he said.

There is also the multi-billion Long Son Petrochemical project currently in process in Vietnam where Qatar has a 25 per cent stake along with Petrovietnam and SCG Chemicals Company of Thailand as joint-venture partners.

 

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