Last updated in June 2017
The political relations between Qatar and Germany have intensified over the last years thanks to a steady number of high-level visits in both directions. Federal Chancellor Merkel visited Doha in the first half of 2010 and the Emir of Qatar paid an official visit to Germany in the second half of that year. Then Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani visited Berlin in April 2013 and then Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle visited Qatar for the fourth time in June 2013. The Emir visited Berlin in September 2014, holding political talks with Federal President Gauck, Federal Chancellor Merkel, Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier and Federal Economic Affairs and Energy Minister Gabriel. Gabriel, for his part, travelled to Doha in March 2014, where he was received by the Emir. The Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani visited Berlin most recently in October 2016 for talks with Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier. The two countries’ foreign ministers also meet regularly at international conferences.
Qatar’s strong engagement in foreign policy also makes it an important partner for Germany on numerous regional political issues. In 2013, Germany and Qatar celebrated the 40th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations.
An investment promotion and protection agreement and an air transport agreement were concluded in 1996 and entered into force in January 1999. In 2015, bilateral trade was worth approximately EUR 2.54 billion. German exports to Qatar were worth around EUR 2.16 billion in 2015, and German imports from Qatar approximately EUR 388 million. In terms of value, motor vehicles, plant and machinery top the list of German exports to the country.
German companies are mainly active in plant construction, energy generation, the building industry and the service sector as well as being active in the transport infrastructure sector. German and Qatari companies also cooperate in the energy sector (liquid gas). There are market opportunities for German companies in the chemical and construction industries, in the mechanical engineering and automotive sectors, in the local public transport sector and in environmental and medical technology.
Conversely, Qatar has made a number of investments in Germany and has holdings in companies including Volkswagen, Deutsche Bank and Siemens.
Qatar attaches great importance to application-oriented research. German technology companies are also engaged in this sector, with a presence in the Qatar Science and Technology Park.
The German Embassy and the German Industry and Commerce Office Qatar in Doha, a branch of the German-Emirati Joint Council for Industry and Commerce’s (AHK) regional office and the German Business Council Qatar (GBCQ), which was set up in late 2002, are working together with Qatari partners to further intensify bilateral economic relations. A German-Qatari Joint Economic Commission (GWK) was set up in 2007 under the auspices of what is now the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The GWK met for the first time in late 2012 in Qatar. Subsequent meetings were held in Berlin (2014) and in Doha (December 2016).
The German International School Doha, which has been operating since the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year, is being expanded into a German-Qatari International School. Since the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, it has offered instruction leading to the German Mixed-Language International Baccalaureate (GIB), entitling holders to study at a university in Germany. The school has an integrated kindergarten to which Qatari children have also been admitted.
German was introduced as an optional subject at a regular state (secondary) school in Qatar for the first time in the 2013-2014 school year. Like the German International School Doha, this school is now a member of the Schools: Partners for the Future (PASCH) network.
The Berlin-based Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences (AGYA) has been in existence since 2013. It provides an exchange platform for young German and Arab researchers of all disciplines. Germany’s medical sector also enjoys a good reputation in Qatar. Cooperation agreements have been concluded between numerous German and Qatari hospitals.
The Dresden State Art Collections and other leading German museums work together with the Qatari cultural institution Qatar Museums (QM) on joint exhibition projects. In April 2012, the German Archaeological Institute concluded a cooperation agreement with Qatar. Since then, exploratory missions have been regularly conducted there.
Relations in the area of sport focus on football (coaches, winter camps and league advice), table tennis (coaches) as well as on Qatar’s sports academy Aspire and Qatar University, both of which have Germans among their staff.
In 2017, Germany and Qatar are holding a bilateral cultural year, officially entitled German Season in Qatar. The event will feature a wide-ranging programme designed to build on Qataris’ interest in topics relating to Germany and promote mutual exchange, especially in art, culture and sport. The aim is to strengthen civil society ties between Germany and Qatar and provide the opportunity for discussions on socially relevant issues through exchange and dialogue.