What is the future of Ecuadorian-Qatari bilateral relations?
The last two official visits—my visit to Doha and the visit of the Amir of Qatar to Ecuador—demonstrated the willingness of both governments to strengthen bilateral ties. The backdrop of these were the favorable environment that Ecuador has created for the generation of fair trade and employment, care for the environment, inclusion, and sustainability. For this purpose, we built a positive agenda with the national and foreign business sectors. Ecuador sees in Qatar a prosperous nation that is open to the world and whom it counts as a partner in the advancement of greater international causes. The outlook of our economic relations has never been better. Under my government, the Ecuadorian state has adapted its laws to fully develop commercial exchanges, ventures, and investments. We are committed to generating competitiveness, providing incentives, and guaranteeing a balance between public and private interests. During the visit of the Amir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in October 2018, we signed a memorandum for the establishment of a joint ministerial commission on economic, commercial, and technical investments. Other cooperation and exchange agreements were also signed in the fields of youth and sports, environmental protection, and agriculture. The Amir reiterated the importance of strengthening Qatar's relationship with Ecuador, mainly in economic, commercial, and investment matters. He also reiterated his interest in cooperating in the development of the country's tourism infrastructure. During my visit to Qatar, we presented our government program Toda una vida, which consists of meeting citizens' needs at every stage of their lives. We also met with executives of the Qatar Foundation, one of whose flagship projects was developed by the Al Shafallah Center for people with disabilities. Qatar can benefit from our experience in this area and is but one exchange of many that augur an excellent future for our mutual relations.
How can Ecuadorian companies support Qatar to reach a higher level of food security?
Our food exports are of the highest quality. Qatar requires food, and Ecuador is in the best position to provide it. We have ratified the need to promote and diversify agricultural exports, increase their quantity and quality, provide them with greater added value, and develop economic sectors of the agroindustry with export potential. We are confident we will be able to conclude an agreement on this matter to help Qatar acquire high-quality food products from Ecuador. This will allow Qatar to reach the necessary level of food security while strengthening bilateral economic ties.
How likely is a bilateral investment agreement between Ecuador and Qatar, and which sectors of the economy would interest Qatari investors?
One of our priorities is to negotiate a bilateral investment greement with Qatar to provide greater legal security and predictability for investors. Ecuadorian law has broad incentives to guarantee that foreign investment meets normal labor standards, environmental care, and fiscal requirements. A bilateral agreement will provide an additional framework to help Qatari investors enter our country, obtain a fair profit for their economic activity, and contribute to the progress and generation of employment. The opportunities are many. We seek to strengthen the productive, industrial, and financial sectors through direct investments as well as the promotion of public-private partnerships for investments in infrastructure, bio-economy, hydrocarbons, energy, mining, telecommunications, transport, and public works. All new investments will have tax incentives from which Qatari investors can benefit for several years.