Market overview

In response to the pandemic situation, the Qatari government has suspended entry for a limited period to all residents who are currently outside the country, and for all valid visa holders except for Qatari citizens coming from anywhere in the world. Anyone entering Qatar must self-isolate for 14 days. The number of new COVID-19 cases has stabilised to around 500-600 cases per day. Private and public sector businesses have slowly reopened and resumed to work, respecting the directives from the Qatari government. Schools and the Metro have been shut down and public transport has been reduced. Qatar has locked down an entire section of its Industrial Area where staff, labourers and materials for construction sites are located. Canteens in labour camps have been closed down and there have been changes to bus services bringing workers to construction sites.

Government support

Qatar has announced various measures in respect of COVID-19. These include measures to support the economy and certain tax related measures, including extensions for filing corporate income tax returns and certain customs exemptions for food and medical supplies.

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, sterilizers, etc.) and hygiene products (cleaners, soap, tissues, etc.).

Hotel & Restaurant business activity is down to 15-20% of its usual potential for the season.

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. Importation of non-essential goods are restricted.

Sector insights: 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
COVID-19 helpline for businesses
New Zealand Customs
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
New Zealand Export Credit (NZEC)
MFAT Export Helpline
MFAT Safetravel
Callaghan Innovation
Ministry of Health
WorkSafe New Zealand

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.