Minister Cannon Announces New Canadian Mission in Qatar

(No. 331 - November 5, 2009 – 3:30 p.m. EST) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced Canada’s intention to open a new embassy in Doha, Qatar, to further expand Canada-Qatar political and trade relations and to advance a common agenda in the broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) region.

"Qatar is a fast-growing economy with a stable fiscal framework," said Minister Cannon. "Canada and Qatar share a commitment to development, human rights, democracy and security."

As a member of the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Qatar is a priority market under the Government of Canada’s Global Commerce Strategy. In 2008, Canada’s merchandise exports to the GCC region topped $2.9 billion. In 2009, through to August, Canada’s merchandise exports exceeded $2.1 billion, 13.4 percent ahead of last year’s record pace.

"Trade and investment opportunities for Canadian companies in Qatar are growing rapidly, particularly in sectors such as oil and gas, infrastructure, aerospace, education and architectural services," said Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway. "Trade commissioners in the new embassy will be ready to open doors for our companies doing business in the region."

Qatar has the world’s third-largest reserves of natural gas. The Gulf region plays a strategic role in the global energy supply, and represents a peace and security policy priority for Canada. About 2,000 Canadians live and work in Qatar.

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874