Exporting to Qatar

Advantages and challenges of exporting to Qatar

There are advantages and disadvantages of doing business in Qatar.


  • English widely spoken and is the main business language
  • only 7 hours flying time from the UK and 3 hours ahead of GMT
  • strong cultural and historical ties as many Qataris have studied in the UK, have UK homes and visit regularly
  • UK enjoys a very good reputation, both as a destination and for the quality of its goods and services
  • economic stability
  • modern, fast-growing, diversifying economy
  • high personal wealth
  • strong government support for infrastructure and related projects



Doing business in Qatar has a number of challenges you need to consider.

Most businesses setting up in Qatar need to have a local sponsor or business partner with a 51-49 per cent split in favour of the Qatari partner. Disputes do occur and the burden of risk in such contracts tends to lie with the foreign company. If you want to do business in Qatar you should seek advice and ways of reducing risk.

Companies should always make sure they sign a contract before undertaking any work/projects in Qatar. Work should not be agreed on a ‘handshake’ as this can lead to non-payment issues.

Other challenges include:

  • high levels of bureaucracy
  • price, rather than quality, most important factor in the buying decision
  • market not well regulated, especially on environmental matters
  • delays in payment
  • highly competitive and saturated market in some sectors
  • rents for both business and private residences expensive and rising
  • Qatari Riyal is tied to US dollar, so when the dollar exchange rate is strong Qatar becomes an expensive market