By: Trends Editorial Team
Adnan Mousapour born in the border town of Sosangerd, Khuzestan province in 1976. He has more than 20 years of experience in doing business with Arab countries. He has had key roles and senior positions in International Trade such as, being Head of Iran Chamber of Commerce Export Development Commission, Head of Iran – Qatar Chamber of Commerce and he is also known as the founder and director of several companies in Iran, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Italy. He is a shareholder and business consultant of several international and Iranian startups. He has done management university courses in Germany and Spain. He is a Brian Tracy Academy instructor in Iran after completing the Brian Tracy’s training courses. He has been selected as the top exporter for 9 consecutive years due to his great services in the Iranian business world. He is the first exporter from Shadgan port, which proofs he is a risk taker as well as seeing the big picture. He believes in the principle of empiricism, relying on innovations based on the lessons of the business world. Adnan Mousapour is praised by MENA Institution for establishing Customer Oriented Companies. Among all his roles, he is also a member of Iran Chamber of Commerce Representative Board and Member of the Board of Directors of the Iran-Kuwait Business Council, last but not least he is a member of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce at present.
Trends is grateful for having the opportunity to do an exclusive interview with you despite your busy diary.
Do you mind giving us a short update of the current state of business/trade between Iran and Qatar, and tell us how would you describe it?
The economic relationship between Iran and Qatar is improving day by day. Currently, there is a strong desire in the private sector of both Iran and Qatar, to develop economic relations with each other.
Please tell us about the history of economic activities between the two countries. What is the trade volume between Iran and Qatar today? What products and services (if any) are being exchanged directly or indirectly?
It is obvious that the economic and trade potentials between Iran and Qatar have not been used fully in the recent years. There must be various reasons for not using the existing potentials between the two countries. Now the trade volume between the two countries is about 250 million dollars, and our goal is to reach 1 billion dollars in the near future. Currently, Iran is a massive exporter of food and construction materials to Qatar.
Why has Qatar traditionally (even before the sanctions) shied away from investing in Iran (compared to for example; the $100 billion investment Qatar did in Turkey)?
Economic relations are directly linked to political relations. Bear in mind that every businessman prefers to invest where he can gain more profit. As a result, to develop a stable and productive economic relationship, one should rely on good political relationships. Currently, the political and economic relations between Iran and Qatar are very good, and we hope to expand the amount of exports from Iran to Qatar, as well as the amount of joint investments between the two countries, by expanding trade, especially with the help of the private sector. I have to tell you that Qatar’s private sector is currently very keen on commercial cooperation with Iran’s private sector.
What do you see as the biggest obstacle in doing business between the two countries (US sanctions, geopolitical issues, lack of information among investors and businessmen, Iran’s business environment, commercial rules and regulations…)?
I don’t see any obstacles at all. But the important point is that Qatar is a small country and the trade volume of this country has certain capacity. We should be realistic about our expectations on doing trade with Qatar.
Iranian businessmen believe that doing business in Qatar is not as easy as in the UAE (work permit or business license, residency, opening bank accounts etc.). How would you respond to this? Are there any plans to improve the situation and make it easier for Iranians to do business in/with Qatar?
Yes, currently Iranian businessmen in Qatar are facing problems with getting residency permits, banking problems and etc. We have had many negotiations with the Qataris in this regard. The Qataris have also made some promises to solve such problems. In the joint Chamber of Commerce, we had many meetings with the economic managers of Qatar and even Qatar’s free zone’s officials in the form of a business delegation. The economic officials from Qatar visited Iran recently and talked closely with Iranian businessmen. Iran’s economic advisor was appointed for Qatar and he is already in Qatar. All in all, I am very hopeful that the measures taken will lead to the resolution of trade barriers between the two countries.
Please tell us a bit about the Iran Qatar Chamber of Commerce? When was it established? What is the mission, vision and main activities of the Chamber? What have been some of the Chamber’s recent activities and events? Are there any business delegations visiting either country any time soon? If so, in what sector(s) and when?
The Chamber of Commerce of Iran and Qatar was established about 3 years ago. At the time of establishing, it was like a dream come true. That dream included expanding the trade relations between the two countries. About 1 month ago, Iran’s largest business delegation came to Qatar, 70 large Iranian business companies met and discussed trade with 100 large Qatari business companies face to face. Fortunately, the main task of the Iran-Qatar Chamber of Commerce, which is to facilitate trade between the two countries, is currently being done well. In addition to sending business delegations, we will have many other programs. Holding educational workshops, joint cooperation with the embassy in order to facilitate trade, establishing communications between the businessmen of the two countries and any action that will solve business problems according to the situation. All these are the duties of the joint chamber.
Please tell us about the membership program? Who can apply to become a member of the Iran-Qatar Chamber of Commerce and what services and benefits do they receive?
Individuals who hold commercial cards and the companies which have commercial cards can become members of the joint Chamber of Iran and Qatar. Chamber members will receive all the services mentioned earlier.
Qatar World Cup 2022 is just around the corner, with a massive number of audiences expected to be there. Is Qatar fully prepared to host such big international event despite the ongoing issues (possible return of the Covid-19 restrictions, shortage of affordable hotels etc.)?
In my opinion and by looking at the current conditions, we will witness one of the best World Cups in Qatar this year. I can confirm that Qatar is fully prepared to host the World Cup. You can be sure that it will be the best World Cup ever.
Getting visa and HAYYA Cards to attend the World Cup seems to be a challenge for Iranians. Any plans to address this issue?
There is no problem for Iranians to enter Qatar to watch the World Cup games. Anyone who has a ticket to the games, can easily get the Hayya Card and enter Qatar. Hayya Card is like a visa to enter the country and there are no restrictions for Iranians to visit Qatar. International fans who are travelling to Qatar for this year’s FIFA World Cup now have the option to invite up to three non-ticketed fans to attend the tournament. The feature is only applicable to approved Hayya Card holders aged 18 or above who applied using a FIFA World Cup ticket number. Each extra fan coming to Qatar with your Hayya will need to pay a nonrefundable QAR 500 fee. The charge will not apply to children under 12.
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