ADDIS ABABA, A visiting Qatari business delegation has held discussions here Monday with officials of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations about further strengthening bilateral economic investment relations.

The leader of the 16-member delegation, Hassan Khalifa B. Al-Mansoori, who is Executive Director of Export Development and Promotion of the Qatar Development Bank (QDB), said Qatar is interested to further strengthen economic and investment relations with Ethiopia, which has a huge economy in the African region where its strategic geographical location offers great business potential.

We support trade between countries; and this is one of the main initiatives that we are taking. We will exchange views on trade, imports and exports from Ethiopia to Qatar and vice versa, he added.

According to him, the forum is instrumental in establishing new and sustainable business partnerships. The two countries can benefit if they jointly and vigorously realize common interests, he added.

Ethiopian Foreign Affairs State Minister Aklilu Hailemichael said Ethiopia and Qatar have positive diplomatic engagements which have enabled the countries to sign agreements on the encouragement and reciprocal protection of investments.

Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce Sectoral Association President Melaku Ezezew said the two countries have been working together to enhance trade and investment relations through exchanging business and trade information, trade fairs and business forums.

Speaking about export-import of products, Melaku Ezezew stated that Ethiopia had been exporting agricultural commodities such as fruits and vegetables, flowers, live animal, meat and roses to Qatar.

In return, Qatar exported commodities like urea, polymers of ethylene and petroleum, among others.

He added that the trade balance between the two countries showed that Ethiopia imported 173 million USD worth of goods from Qatar, and exported five million USD during the past ten years. Melaku added that trade exchange between Ethiopia and Qatar reached close to six million USD in 2017.