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Qatar: Trade
Country Study > Chapter 4 > The Economy > Trade


The main export and source of revenue is oil, although the government's efforts to diversify Qatar's industrial base have resulted in the growth of other exports. Crude oil, petroleum products, and LNG accounted for 82 percent of exports in 1989, chemicals (ammonia and urea) accounted for 12.4 percent, and manufactures (mainly steel) accounted for 5.1 percent. Total earnings for the year were QR9.7 billion.

Because imports are financed by oil revenues, the level of goods coming into the country rises and falls with the oil economy. Between 1969 and 1979, for example, the value of imports grew an average of 40 percent annually. Imports declined in the early to mid-1980s, sinking to a low of QR4.0 billion in 1986, then rising gradually until they reached QR4.8 billion in 1989.

Machinery and transportation equipment accounted for 37.0 percent of imports in 1989, manufactured goods for 23.9 percent, food and live animals for 15.1 percent, and chemicals and chemical products for 6.0 percent. The main import sources were Japan (18.8 percent), Britain (11.6 percent), the United States (8.8 percent), Italy (7.8 percent), and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) (7.3 percent).

In keeping with a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) agreement, Qatar raised tariffs from 2.5 to 4.0 percent in 1984. In addition, there is a 20 percent duty on steel products similar to those produced by Qasco. Qatar plays a small role in the regional entrepôt trade. Most imports arrive by sea and are for local use, with only a small percentage reexported to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Data as of January 1993

Last Updated: January 1993

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Qatar was first published in 1993. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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