Qatar flag Qatar: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Qatar

Foreign Trade in Figures

Qatar's trade policy is essentially focused on creating a modern and liberal economy. This is reflected in its promotion of investment (both domestic and foreign), its trade diversification programs at the regional and international levels and membership in several organisations, such as the WTO. Trade represents 90% of the country's GDP in 2020 (World Bank, 2022). Mineral fuels, oils and distillation products represented over 85% of the country’s exports in 2021 (mainly natural gas, followed by crude and other oil products), while imports were led by manufactured products, especially machinery, boilers, Electrical and electronic equipment and Vehicles other than railway and tramway.

The main trading partners were Japan (16%), China (16%), India (15%) and South Korea (13%). Qatar’s leading suppliers were the US (16%), China (15%) and the UK (7.3%). Qatar has very few trade barriers and relatively low customs duties. It has signed a number of free trade agreements, both bilaterally and via the Gulf Cooperation Council, and has concluded a new trade deals with Pakistan on February 2020.

Benefiting from strong oil and gas revenues, Qatar's merchandise trade balance is structurally positive (41.5 billion USD in 2019 but USD 27.1 billion USD in 2020). The fluctuation in oil prices and the COVID19 pandemic has weighed on the surplus in recent years. Exports decreased in 2020 to 51.5 billion USD, from USD 72.9 billion a year earlier) while imports were reduced significantly (25.8 billion USD against 29.1 billion USD a year earlier). As many countries in the region, Qatar remains a net importer of services: imports reached USD 32.9 billion in 2020, while exports amounted to USD 18.3 billion. The trade surplus including services was estimated to have fallen to USD 11.8 billion in 2020, from USD 25.2 billion the year before (WTO, 2021).

The trade surplus in Qatar rose to QAR 25.6 billion in December of 2021 (7.03 billion USD) from QAR 8.6 billion in the same period of last year. Exports soared 107.8% to QAR 35.6 billion (9.77 billion USD), due to higher sales of petroleum gases & other gaseous hydrocarbons (+147.1%), crude petroleum oils & oils obtained from bituminous minerals (+47.9%), and non-crude petroleum oils & oils obtained from bituminous minerals with an increase of 77.9% in sales (Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, 2022).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 31,82030,88731,69629,17825,835
Exports of Goods (million USD) 57,59067,50084,28872,93551,504
Imports of Services (million USD) 31,54129,71530,73533,64832,897
Exports of Services (million USD) 15,17617,52717,78018,33618,378

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 89.591.591.890.3n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) 25,37536,73350,98141,58127,137
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 9,00923,01236,75025,27611,869
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 41.838.635.938.0n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 47.752.955.952.3n/a

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 2.13.8-1.45.96.6
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 1.03.5-4.0-0.4-0.3

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The country is also part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area(GAFTA), a pact of the Arab League entered into force in January 2005 which aims to form an Arabic free trade area. 

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
Japan 15.5%
China 15.2%
India 14.3%
South Korea 12.9%
Singapore 6.7%
See More Countries 35.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
United States 15.7%
China 14.9%
United Kingdom 7.0%
Germany 6.1%
India 5.2%
See More Countries 51.1%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

51.5 bn USD of products exported in 2020
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 67.7%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 14.1%
Polymers of ethylene, in primary formsPolymers of ethylene, in primary forms 3.5%
Mineral or chemical nitrogenous fertilizers (excl....Mineral or chemical nitrogenous fertilizers (excl. those in pellet or similar forms, or in packages with a gross weight of <= 10 kg) 2.6%
Unwrought aluminiumUnwrought aluminium 2.3%
See More Products 9.8%
25.8 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas...Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines 7.3%
Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801...Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801 or 8802, n.e.s. 3.6%
Light-vessels, fire-floats, dredgers, floating...Light-vessels, fire-floats, dredgers, floating cranes, and other vessels the navigability of which is subsidiary to their main function; floating docks, floating or submersible drilling or production platforms (excl. fishing vessels and warships) 3.2%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 3.1%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 2.8%
See More Products 80.0%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2021. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: July 2022