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Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

The country’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 at the regional and international levels and membership in several organisations, such as the WTO. Trade represents 90% of the country's GDP (World Bank, 2015).

Despite the fact that Qatar has not yet implemented the Customs Valuation Agreement defined by the WTO, the country has very few trade barriers due to very low customs duties. The Qatari Chamber of Commerce and Industry is very efficient and transparent in terms of information in the commercial sector. Lastly, the various ministries are pro-active in matters concerning the different trade policies to simplify the system and to develop bilateral agreements, which are constantly increasing in number.

Benefiting from strong oil and gas revenues, Qatar's trade balance is structurally positive. However, the drop in oil prices led to a decline in exports and a reduction of the surplus. In 2015, the trade surplus fell by 58% compared to 2014. As a result of higher volumes and increased exports in the sectors of aluminium, petrochemicals and gas, the balance of trade remains positive. In December 2016, the trade surplus reached USD 2.9 billion, up more than 20% from 2015.

The country's main imports are foodstuffs, mechanical equipment and machines, vehicles and construction materials. It mostly imports from the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Germany and Italy. Qatar mainly exports hydrocarbons (95% of its total exports). The country's main clients for exports are Japan (30% of total exports), South Korea, India, China, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 34,20034,90034,60037,00031,820
Exports of Goods (million USD) 132,962136,767126,70377,29457,590
Imports of Services (million USD) 22,12624,84430,00728,39031,541
Exports of Services (million USD) 8,85110,29412,77514,10315,176
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2296-9n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 1110-1n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) 102,167101,86195,55748,79825,320
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 106102999289
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 2930313642
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 7673685647

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Japan 20.8%
South Korea 17.3%
India 11.9%
China 6.7%
United Arab Emirates 6.1%
Singapore 4.5%
United Kingdom 4.5%
Thailand 3.5%
Italy 2.0%
Belgium 1.7%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 11.5%
United States 11.0%
United Arab Emirates 8.8%
Germany 7.5%
Japan 6.5%
United Kingdom 5.7%
Italy 4.4%
Saudi Arabia 4.3%
France 3.8%
India 3.7%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


Main Products

78.0 bn USD of products exported in 2015
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 64.8%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 13.6%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 4.4%
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) 0.7%
Halogenated derivatives of hydrocarbons 0.6%
Bars and rods, of iron or non-alloy steel, not further worked than forged, hot-rolled, hot-drawn or hot-extruded, but incl. those twisted after rolling (excl. in irregularly wound coils) 0.5%
Sulphur of all kinds (excl. sublimed sulphur, precipitated sulphur and colloidal sulphur) 0.4%
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) 0.4%
Spark-ignition reciprocating or rotary internal combustion piston engine 0.3%
Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801 or 8802, n.e.s. 0.2%
32.6 bn USD of products imported in 2015
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) 9.1%
Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801 or 8802, n.e.s. 5.8%
Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy, radio-broadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras and other video camera recorders; digital cameras 2.0%
Insulated incl. enamelled or anodised wire, cable incl. coaxial cable and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fibre cables, made-up of individually sheathed fibres, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors 2.0%
Self-propelled bulldozers, angledozers, graders, levellers, scrapers, mechanical shovels, excavators, shovel loaders, tamping machines and road rollers 1.8%
Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 1.7%
Iron ores and concentrates, incl. roasted iron pyrites 1.5%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 1.5%
Tubes, pipes and hollow profiles, of cast iron 1.5%
Structures and parts of structures e.g., bridges and bridge-sections, lock-gates, towers, lattice masts, roofs, roofing frameworks, doors and windows and their frames and thresholds for doors, shutters, balustrades, pillars and columns, of iron or steel; plates, rods, angles, shapes, sections, tubes and the like, prepared for use in structures, of iron or steel (excl. prefabricated buildings of heading 9406) 1.4%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


Main Services

15.0 bn USD of services exported in 2015
Government services
Cultural and recreational services
Insurance services
Communications services
27.6 bn USD of services imported in 2015
Insurance services
Government services
Communications services
Cultural and recreational services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data


Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Main 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. 

Useful Resources
Qatar Customs Department
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce, Directorate of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications.


Learn more about How to Export to Qatar on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: November 2017