Direct air link to boost Qatar-Swiss relations: Envoy
Web posted at: 9/27/2003 6:58:25
Source ::: THE PENINSULA
Ambassador of Switzerland to Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, Jean Philippe Tissieres (left) with community members during a reception held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Thursday.
Source : The Peninsula/ Qassim
DOHA: The direct air-link between Doha and Geneva, which is proposed to be operated by national carrier Qatar Airways, will further boost the excellent bilateral relations between Qatar and Switzerland, Jean-Philippe Tissieres, the Swiss ambassador to Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, said on Thursday. The ambassador disclosed that a large number of Qatari nationals were already travelling to various destinations in Switzerland and hence, such flights would encourage more to visit the country for both, business and liesure.
Speaking to The Peninsula, Tissieres, who is based in Kuwait, said that when such an air service between Doha and Geneva starts, the people of Qatar would be able to look at Geneva as a “suburb of Doha.” The ambassador was here on Thursday to meet with the nearly 50 Swiss nationals who are currently residing in Qatar and employed with various Swiss and European firms engaged in different sectors of the local industry. He hosted a reception at the Ritz-Carlton, whose general manager, Pierre Perusset is also a Swiss national, for the community.
Switzerland, he said, though not a part of the expanding European Union, continued to meet all standards laid by the bloc. “We are a part of Europe but not the EU. We retain what we call as EU compatibility,”he said. Though the Schengen visa, which is issued for travel to a large number of EU states is not valid for Switzerland, Qatari nationals who hold it can enter the country without a Swiss visa, he added. For expatriates holding Qatar residence permits however, a Swiss visa has to be procured before arrival and its issue depends upon the nationality of the traveller.
Tissieres said that the economic boom that Qatar is currently witnessing would provide an ideal platform for Swiss banks and financial institutions to open branches or permanent offices in Doha.”
Switzerland is renowned worldwide for its banking industry and we would be proud to have offices here. We would also be extremely happy to welcome any local Qatari banks who wish to open their branches in Geneva as we have the best of infrastucture and expertise required by them,”he added.
The ambassador disclosed that exports from Switzerland to Qatar during the last financial year stood at some Swiss Francs 115mn. Of this, 50 per cent was accounted for by Swiss watches and jewellery, 30 per cent by machinery and equipment imported by local firms from Switzerland, 15 per cent by medicines and chemicals and the remaining five per cent, by consumer durables and non-durables.
Tissieres however noted that a large number of indirect exports, including products made outside Switzerland for Swiss multi-nationals, were also entering the Qatari market.
Switzerland, he said, would like to welcome Qatari investment in various sectors of its industry such as hotels and tourism and manufacturing.
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