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'Argentina, Qatar exploring ties in agriculture, education and sports'

'Argentina, Qatar exploring ties in agriculture, education and sports'

Ailyn Agonia
AN agreement on agricultural cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture of Argentina and the Ministry of Municipality and Environment of Qatar is being negotiated, and Argentina can cooperate with Qatar in developing its agricultural sector, said Ambassador of Argentina to Qatar HE Rossana Surballe.
"Taking into account the Argentine experience in agriculture, I think we can share our experience on that field and participate in the process of development in agricultural sector that Qatar is facing," the Ambassador told Qatar Tribune in a recent interview.
"We have noticed in the last year an increase in our trade with Qatar. In terms of food security, Argentina can be a very important partner to Qatar because our country is one of the largest food producers in the world. Aside from exporting products we can also share our knowledge in many technologies that Qatar is focusing on, such as in agricultural sector. That is why we are working on an agreement in agro-industrial sector which has to do with ways to interchange technologies. We have an important institute on agriculture with technicians who are well prepared to offer trainings. Some of the important companies in Qatar such as Baladna have travelled to Argentina to explore possibility of cooperation in agriculture," Ambassador Surballe said.
According to the Ambassador, in the period January to September 2017, Argentina exported to Qatar US$12.150.000 worth of products which amounts to an 85,7 percent increase from the previous year. In this respect, agricultural manufacturers accounted for 45,5 percent of all exports, representing US$ 5.500.000 in value. Main products were meat and meat preparations, followed by food industry waste. As well, industrial manufactures reached US$ 300.000. Chemicals were the most important exports.
She said that a business and commercial mission from Argentina specialising in agriculture is scheduled to visit Qatar in the second half of this year.
The top official also underlined the great development potential in a wide range of topics within the bilateral relations of Argentina and Qatar. According to the Ambassador, Argentina's exports to Qatar reflect the variety of its productive structure (commodities, agricultural manufactures and industrial manufactures), while Qatar's exports to Argentina are mainly concentrated in the energy sector, namely, liquefied natural gas. While Argentina mainly exports to Qatar meat, fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, dairy products as well as chemicals, electrical equipment and medicines.
Aside from agriculture, Surballe said Argentina is keen on exploring cooperation possibilities with Qatar in the areas of culture, education and sports. She said that a memorandum of understanding on Cooperation in Education, Higher Education and Scientific Research is being negotiated between the two countries, as well as an agreement in sports cooperation.
At the same time, and in order to facilitate the official contacts between Argentina and Qatar, a visa exemption agreement for diplomatic and official passports is also being negotiated, according to Surballe.
Commenting on the ongoing conflict in the region, the Ambassador praised Qatar for dealing with the situation with high dignity.
"Defending sovereignty is very important for any country. On the part of Argentina, our government has already issued two formal statements calling for peaceful solution to the conflict in the region. We also asked all parties to avoid taking measures that can escalate and hurt their people. It has touched me to see the impact of the crisis on the people and families," she said.


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