Qatar flag Qatar: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Qatar

Foreign Trade in Figures

Qatar'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 93% of the country's GDP in 2021 (World Bank, 2023). Mineral fuels, oils and distillation products represented over 85% of the country’s exports in 2022 (mainly natural gas, followed by crude and other oil products), while imports were led by manufactured products, especially machinery, boilers, Electrical and electronic equipment and Vehicles other than railway and tramway.

In 2021, the main trading partners were China (15.5%), Japan (13.6%), India (15%) and South Korea (12.8%). Qatar’s leading suppliers were China (16.3%), the United States (11.8%), India (6.4%) and Germany (5.8%). Qatar has very few trade barriers and relatively low customs duties. It has signed a number of free trade agreements, both bilaterally and via the Gulf Cooperation Council, and has concluded a new trade deals with Pakistan on February 2020.

Benefiting from strong oil and gas revenues, Qatar's merchandise trade balance is structurally positive (27.1 billion USD in 2020 and 60.33 billion USD in 2021). The fluctuation in oil prices, the COVID19 pandemic and the global effect of the war in Ukraine has impacted on the surplus in recent years. Exports increased in 2021 to 87.20 billion USD from 51.50 billion USD a year earlier) while imports increased from 25.83 billion USD to 27.98 billion USD). As many countries in the region, Qatar remains a net importer of services: imports reached USD 34.34 billion in 2021, while exports amounted to USD 18.34 billion. The trade surplus including services was estimated to have sharply increased to USD 44.34 billion in 2021, from USD 11.86 billion the year before (WTO, 2023).

Qatar’s trade balance surplus has surged to hit 28.2 billion Qatari riyals (7.75 billion USD) in December 2022. The figure reflects a 10% increase on an annual basis and a 7.6% climb on a monthly basis. The surge in the Gulf country’s trade balance surplus is mainly attributed to the increase in exports and the curbing of imports (Qatar Planning and Statistics Authority, 2023).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 30,88731,69629,17825,83527,985
Exports of Goods (million USD) 67,50084,28872,93551,50487,203
Imports of Services (million USD) 29,71530,73533,64832,89734,340
Exports of Services (million USD) 17,52717,78018,33618,37818,346

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 91.591.890.390.093.0
Trade Balance (million USD) 36,73350,98141,58127,13760,339
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 23,01236,75025,27611,86944,345
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -3.54.61.9-8.9n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 1.3-1.2-2.2-1.5n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 38.635.938.040.934.1
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 52.955.952.349.158.9

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20222023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 3.6-1.4-0.44.94.4
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 3.42.41.72.82.7

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
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. 

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2021
China 15.5%
Japan 13.6%
India 12.8%
South Korea 12.8%
Singapore 6.1%
See More Countries 39.2%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2021
China 16.3%
United States 11.8%
India 6.4%
Germany 5.8%
United Kingdom 5.7%
See More Countries 54.1%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

87.2 bn USD of products exported in 2021
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 61.2%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 14.2%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...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 9.0%
Polymers of ethylene, in primary formsPolymers of ethylene, in primary forms 3.1%
Mineral or chemical nitrogenous fertilisers (excl....Mineral or chemical nitrogenous fertilisers (excl. those in pellet or similar forms, or in packages with a gross weight of <= 10 kg) 2.8%
See More Products 9.7%
28.0 bn USD of products imported in 2021
Turbojets, turbopropellers and other gas turbinesTurbojets, turbopropellers and other gas turbines 6.4%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...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) 4.0%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 3.1%
Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801...Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801 or 8802, n.e.s. 2.7%
Articles of jewellery and parts thereof, of...Articles of jewellery and parts thereof, of precious metal or of metal clad with precious metal (excl. articles > 100 years old) 2.4%
See More Products 81.4%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: March 2023

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