Seizing the Opportunities

"Charting new opportunities & resolutions for greater trade with the Gulf"

Trade barriers and embargoes are almost always deleterious: not only to the states directly involved, but also to the global economy at large.

Focusing on recent events in the Gulf, this conference will highlight the consequences of trade barriers to ordinary citizens.

Toward mitigating these impacts, insights will also be offered on the market spaces that have been vacated by these measures, presenting real commercial opportunities for foreign businesses.

Finally, speakers will chart a positive, free-trading vision forward: toward securing prosperous economies in the Gulf, Europe and the world.

To see the event Gallery: 
Photos and Video

 

Speaches:

Panel Discussion

Mr Hannan went on to moderate a lively panel discussion on issues ranging from the efficacy of trade embargoes, the role of the energy sector in the Gulf region, the future of President Trump’s trade policy and the shortcomings of the current free market narrative.

Ted Bromund, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation

On the effect of the blockade on Qatar:

“Trade mostly finds a way. And trade diversion cuts new rivers that can remain vibrant after the embargo has been lifted.”

On the apparent historical successes of global sanctions on South Africa and North Korea:

“They only work if the entire world takes part. Regional sanctions will never achieve their goal.”

On the current US administration’s trade policy:

“We pressure the administration every day in favour of free trade… Economic need for free trade should win out against any protectionist leanings of the administration.”

Prof Samuele Furfari, Université Libre de Bruxelles, advisor to DG Energy, European Commission

“Energy is the blood of our economy and trade in energy is becoming more and more open and dynamic.”

“In time we will see more fragmentation within OPEC, which could jeopardise Middle East unity.”

On the importance of investing in renewable energy technologies:

“The biggest mistake in energy policy is to confuse electricity with energy.”

Ulrike Trebesius, German MEP

“The German Chambers of Commerce would like to see further steps towards trade liberalisation with more markets around the world, and considers the EU too slow to act on this.”

“EU sanctions on Russia currently aren’t working well. Embargoes can only ever be effective in the short term.”

“In the end, free trade will be a decision for the younger generation to make, using the new technologies at their disposal.”

Daniele Capezzone, Member of the Italian Parliament, Director of New Direction Italia

“We need to work on a new narrative about the success of open markets and free trade… We are using analogue arguments in a digital world.”

“After Brexit the UK can play a bigger role as an economic and geopolitical partner in the Gulf.”

On trade embargoes:

“There are too often humanitarian consequences - hitting ordinary people is not a good idea.”

KEYNOTE SPEECH: The effect of the blockade on the Qatar economy

Saud Bin Abdullah Al Attiyah, Executive Director, Economic Polices & Research, Ministry of Economy & Commerce, Qatar

Since the blockade:

  • Qatar’s GDP growth has exceeded forecasts by 0.2%
  • Inflation has remained relatively low at 2.6%
  • Number of ships visiting Qatar ports up more than threefold
  • Number of containers handled at Hamad port up more than threefold
  • Qatar ranked as the safest business environment in the world in the 2017-18 Global Competitiveness Rankings
  • Over 10,000 new companies registered in Qatar
  • Qatar Airways opened up 25 new flight destinations
  • Qatar’s gas exports to UAE remain unchanged
  • 8 major companies moved from the UAE to Qatar

 

Dinner Speeches

H.E. Abdulrahman Al-Khulaifi, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Brussels, the EU and NATO

“Don’t get me wrong, Qatar does not welcome this blockade, which has severe humanitarian implications, separating entire families, keeping loved ones apart from each other and preventing students from attending their schools.

We refuse, however, to simply sit down and accept the harm that is inflicted on us. Instead, we see the blockade as a catalyst, an opportunity for a new way of thinking and for venturing into unexplored and highly promising commercial and diplomatic opportunities.”

Fatih Metin, Deputy Minister of Economy, Turkey

Lolwah Alkhater, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State of Qatar

“The main takeaway from today’s discussion, I would say, is that Qatar is kind of better off now with the blockade. Does this mean we’re satisfied with the current conditions in our region? No, we’re not.”

 

“For us in Qatar today, we design our policies as if this blockade is continuing forever. That’s why we’re strengthening our bilateral agreements with all countries. His Highness the Emir is the only leader in the GCC that has visited East Africa - just to give you one example.”

 LOCATION

​Middle East Dialogue Centre

Rue Blanche 1, 1000, Brussels


Speakers

H.E Abdulrahman Al Khulaifi

Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Brussels, the EU and NATO

Ted Bromund

 

Senior Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation, USA

 Dr Samuele Fufari

 

Professor, ULB; Advisor to DG Energy, European Commission

 Lolwah Alkhater

 

Spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State of Qatar

Daniele Capezzone

 

Member of Italian Parliament, Director of New Direction Italia

Ulrike Trebesius

 

Member of the European Parliament, Germany

Saud Bin Abdullah Al Attiyah

 Executive Director, Economic Polices & Research, Ministry of Economy & Commerce, Qatar

Fatih Metin

 

Deputy Minister of Economy, Turkey

Daniel Hannan

 

IFT President, Member of the European Parliament, UK

AGENDA

05:30 - 06:00pm: 

06:00 - 07:00pm: 

 

 



07:00 - 07:30pm: 

07:30 - 07:45pm:

 

 

08:00-10:00pm: 

Registration & Welcome

 Panel discussion:

Panel discussion:
Daniel Hannan MEP (Moderator)
Ulrike Trebesius MEP
Daniele Capezzone MP
Ted Bromund
Dr Samuele Fufari

Q&A

Keynote speech:

Saud Bin Abdullah Al Attiyah, Executive Director, Economic Polices & Research, Ministry of Economy & Commerce, Qatar


Supper

with keynote speeches from:
Hon. Fatih Metin, Deputy Minister of Economy, Turkey
Hon. Lolwah Alkhater, Spokesperson, Qatar Foreign Ministry