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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 programs at the regional and international levels and membership in several organisations, such as the WTO. Trade represents 89% of the country's GDP (World Bank, 2016).
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, though the drop in oil prices led to a decline in exports and a reduction of the surplus in recent years. However, according to figures from the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, Qatar’s trade surplus grew by more than 40% in 2017, reaching USD 35 billion, as exports witnessed double-digit growth (+19% to USD 68 billion), while imports declined.
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 (around 90% 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 19.1%
South Korea 15.6%
India 12.9%
China 7.8%
United Arab Emirates 6.6%
Singapore 5.2%
Thailand 3.8%
United Kingdom 3.3%
Egypt 1.9%
Italy 1.9%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
United States 14.4%
China 10.4%
Germany 9.3%
United Arab Emirates 9.1%
Japan 6.7%
Saudi Arabia 4.3%
United Kingdom 4.1%
Italy 4.0%
India 3.7%
France 3.2%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


Main Products

57.3 bn USD of products exported in 2016
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 61.3%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 15.4%
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 4.8%
Sulphur of all kinds (excl. sublimed sulphur, precipitated sulphur and colloidal sulphur) 0.3%
Mixed alkylbenzenes and mixed alkylnaphthalenes produced by the alkylation of benzene and naphthalene (excl. mixed isomers of cyclic hydrocarbons) 0.3%
32.1 bn USD of products imported in 2016
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) 7.1%
Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines 3.9%
Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801 or 8802, n.e.s. 3.5%
Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 2.4%
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 2.2%
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. 1.4%
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%
Pebbles, gravel, broken or crushed stone, for concrete aggregates, for road metalling or for railway ballast, shingle and flint, whether or not heat-treated; macadam of slag, dross or similar industrial waste, whether or not incorporating the materials cited in the first part of the heading; tarred macadam; granules, chippings and powder, of stones of heading 2515 and 2516, whether or not heat-treated 1.4%
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 1.3%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 1.3%

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: May 2018