Qatar

Market overview

Businesses in Qatar can send 80 percent of their workforce back to the offices, but with physical distancing requirements in place. Most banks have now reopened around the country, but several are now closing branches and encouraging customers to switch to online banking as much as possible.

Schools have reopened and are following a hybrid model, with classes at 50 percent reduced capacity as well as online learning. However, seven schools were closed in the first week of September due to reported COVID cases among either teachers or students.

Hotels are now all operational, and the hospitality sector is faring well with quarantine programs, ‘staycations’ and F&B offers.

Qatar Airways is opening more routes every day, with a major push for the carrier to remain the number one international carrier across the world during this crisis. However, this is bringing increased tensions due to the increase in airline activity, as well as ongoing court cases between Qatar and the UAE.

Projects in construction are ongoing and banks have been weathering the crisis well, with no major impact on the financial sector. Activities in preparation for the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup are progressing as per normal.


Government support

Qatar has announced various policies and tax measures to support the country's economy through COVID-19, including extensions for filing corporate income tax returns and certain customs exemptions for food and medical supplies.

Qatar has also announced the implementation of minimum wages and the overall financial security of the country remains strong.

The Supreme Committee for Crisis Management has announced an exemption from customs duties for food and medical goods for a period of six months for the following sectors:

  • hospitality and tourism

  • retail

  • small and medium sized industries

  • commercial complexes, in exchange for providing services.

Qatar's General Customs Authority continues to exempt certain items from customs duties on importation. These items include food (meat, fish, dairy products, pastry, oils, etc), medical supplies (masks, sterilisers, etc) and hygiene products (cleaners, soap, tissues, etc).

Supply chain, logistics and freight

There are no restrictions for cargo and freight transfer via sea and air to Qatar, though delays have been reported due to staffing issues at ports. Importation of non-essential goods are restricted.

Travel

Qatar’s mandatory hotel quarantine program has now been extended until the end of October, and all people entering the country are required to quarantine for a minimum of 7 days.

New visas, including business visas, tourist visas and new residency permits are currently not being issued. Only company-to-company visa transfers are permitted. However, a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) is no longer required for people to be able to transfer jobs.


Sector insights

As is to be expected, numerous sectors have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Below you'll find information on any COVID-19 effects across important sectors and industries in Qatar.

Construction

As the COVID-19 epicentre shifts from China to mainland Europe and the US, Qatar's construction industry is likely to face shortages of materials from there for mechanical, electrical and plumbing products and the European impact may lead contractors to find alternative suppliers.

Construction businesses will face challenges obtaining financing from lenders unwilling to commit to supporting infrastructure projects. COVID-19 disruptions to the supply chain and labour market increase the risk associated with complex infrastructure and energy projects, and the likelihood of delay and default. In such circumstances project finance is likely to be limited, and banks will be carefully assessing the contractor making the request, the government's reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic to date and their own balance sheets, before committing.

The slow momentum the public private partnership procurement model was gathering in Qatar may well be accelerated now. However, lenders involved in funding those deals will likely be cautious about committing to long-term projects until some degree of economic stability returns.

Additional resources

Below you can find information and contact details for other New Zealand government and international agencies regarding their response to COVID-19.

New Zealand Government agencies

Covid19.govt.nz
COVID-19 helpline for businesses
Business.govt.nz
New Zealand Customs
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
New Zealand Export Credit (NZEC)
MFAT Export Helpline
MFAT Safetravel
Callaghan Innovation
Immigration
Ministry of Health
WorkSafe New Zealand
myNZTE

Global agencies

World Health Organization (WHO)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Contact NZTE

We're available to talk to you about any issues your export business is facing due to COVID-19.

For existing NZTE customers, please contact your New Zealand-based Customer Manager.

If you're unsure who to contact or haven't worked with us before, you can call NZTE on 0800 555 888 or email below and one of our Customer Advisors will help you.