Domestic and Foreign Market Access

Overview: Trade Policy and Business Environment

 The State of Qatar is classified as a high-income country. The country was ranked 32nd out of 132 countries in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Enabling Trade Index (2012), which measures institutions, policies and services to facilitate trade in countries. The main economic stimuli in Qatar are oil and gas, particularly through the development of the North Field, which is the largest non-associated natural gas field in the world. Qatar is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which attracts tens of billions of dollars in foreign investment. The Qatari government has engaged in improving the entrepreneurial environment and broadening the economic base beyond oil and gas. It attaches great importance to building capacity to formulate and implement trade policy and specifically pursuant to the tourism industry, improving education, and addressing structural problems such as the dominant presence of state-owned enterprises in key industries.

Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2014, Country Report (Qatar)

Domestic Market Access The pillar assesses the level and complexity of a country’s tariff protection as a result of its trade policy. This component includes the effective trade-weighted average tariff applied by a country, the share of goods imported duty free and the complexity of the tariff regime, measured through tariff variance, the prevalence of tariff peaks and specific tariffs, and the number of distinct tariffs. 10 5.88
Foreign Market Access The pillar assesses tariff barriers faced by a country’s exporters in destination markets. It includes the average tariffs faced by the country as well as the margin of preference in destination markets negotiated through bilateral or regional trade agreements or granted in the form of trade preferences. 129 1.67
Tariff rate (%) This indicator is calculated as a trade-weighted average of all the applied tariff rates, including preferential rates that a country applies to the rest of the world. The weights are the trade patterns of the importing country’s reference group (2012 data). An applied tariff is a customs duty that is levied on imports of merchandise goods. 54 4.17
Complexity of tariffs , index 1-7 (best) This indicator is calculated as the average of the following indicators: Tariff dispersion, Specific tariffs and Number of distinct tariffs. See description of each individual indicator for more details. Prior to averaging, values for each indicator were transformed to a 1–7 score, using the min-max method. 25 6.60
Tariffs dispersion (standard deviation) This indicator reflects differences in tariffs across product categories in a country’s tariff structure. The variance is calculated across all the tariffs on imported merchandise goods, at the 6-digit level of the Harmonized Schedule. 47 7.82
Tariffs peaks (%) This indicator is the ratio of the number of tariff lines exceeding three times the average domestic tariff (across all products) to the MFN (most-favoured nation) tariff schedule. The tariff schedule is equal to the total number of tariff lines for each country. These tariffs are revised on a yearly basis. 30 0.27
Specific tariffs (%) This indicator is the ratio of the number of Harmonized System (HS) tariff lines, with at least one specific tariff, to the total number of HS tariff lines. A specific tariff is a tariff rate charged on fixed amount per quantity (as opposed to ad valorem) 64 0.26
Number of distinct tariffs This indicator reflects the number of distinct tariff rates applied by a country to its imports across all sectors. 59 22.00
Share of duty-free imports (%) Share of trade, excluding petroleum, that is imported free of tariff duties, taking into account MFN tariffs and preferential agreements. Tariff data is from 2013 or most recent year available and imports data is from 2012 24 78.39
Tariffs faced (%) This indicator is calculated as the trade-weighted average of the applied tariff rates, including preferential rates that the rest of the world applies to each country. The weights are the trade patterns of the importing country’s reference group (2012 data). A tariff is a customs duty that is levied by the destination country on imports of merchandise goods 71 5.46
Index of margin of preference in destination markets, 0-100 (best) This indicator measures the percentage by which particular imports from one country are subject to lower tariffs than the MFN rate. It is calculated as the average of two components: 1) the trade-weighted average difference between the MFN tariff and the most advantageous preferential duty (advantage score), and 2) the ratio of the advantage score to the trade-weighted average MFN tariff level. This allows capturing both the absolute and the relative margin of preference. 137 0.53
Source : World Economic Forum, Global Enabling Trade Report 2014

Trade Policy and Market Access

 Qatar became a member of the WTO in 1996. Qatar’s average MFN applied tariff in 2012 was 4.7 per cent. Most import values are subject to tariff lines between duty-free and 5 per cent. As one of the six members of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the country implements the GCC common external tariff. It maintains a limited number of tariff exceptions approved by the GCC, such as alcohol (100 per cent) and tobacco (150 per cent), as well as wheat, flour, rice, feed grains, and powdered milk (duty exemption). Moreover, religiously and politically sensitive goods, such as pornographic materials, narcotics and pork products, are designated as prohibited imports. With respect to the arrangement for trade agreements, within the GCC, Qatar is negotiating a free trade agreement with the EU, while it has ceased benefitting from preferential access to the EU market under the EU's Generalised System of Preferences scheme from January 2014. The GCC-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (GSFTA), which was signed in 2008, entered into force in September 2013. Qatar is also a member of the Greater Arab Free-Trade Area (GAFTA) in which all six States of the GCC participate.

EU Commission, 2014, EU and the Gulf Region

U.S. Trade Representative, 2013, Overview of Qatar

WEF, 2012, Global Enabling Trade Report

WTO, 2005, Trade Policy Review (Qatar)

WTO, 2012, Tariff Profile (Qatar)

Standard Compliance and Other Relevant Import/Export Restrictions

 As a part of the GCC customs union, Qatar is working with other member states to create a unified Gulf standards and conformity assessment though a GCC Standards Organization which is a regional body responsible for food and non-food standards. Qatar General Organization for Standards and Metrology (QS) is the national standards body in Qatar, currently affiliated with the Ministry of Environment. It publishes Qatari technical regulations and standards and participates in relevant international and regional standard organizations. Moreover, sanitary and phytosanitary measures in Qatar generally correspond to standards established by the World organization for Animal Health, Codex Alimentarius, and the International Plant Protection Convention. The Department of Public Health serves most functions related to food import and safety. It establishes food safety regulation in coordination with the QS. Whilst the importation of pork and pork products are prohibited, beef and poultry products require a halal certificate and a wholesomeness certificate. Plants, animals, and their products are subject to inspection by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture and the importation of them requires a phytosanitary or health certificate.

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, 2012, Global Agricultural Information Network Report (Qatar)

WTO, 2005, Trade Policy Review (Qatar)