The establishment and launch of the region’s first clearing house has opened a direct channel of business between China and the MENA region according to a statement released from the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority earlier today.

Providing an onshore centre offering access to Renminbi-based financial exchanges and products will mean an increase in fiscal cooperation between China and the MENA region, fostering the cross-border use of Renminbi in the region.

Inaugurated by H.E Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Prime Minister of Qatar and Minister of Interior, the clearing centre will also facilitate the expansion of investment portfolios or financial services for banks including but not limited to debt market products and commodity derivatives denominated in Renminbi.

His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Saoud Al Thani, Governor, Qatar Central Bank, said: “The launch of the region’s first RMB clearing centre in Doha creates the necessary platform to realise the full potential of Qatar’s and the region’s trade relationship with China. It will facilitate greater cross-border RMB investment and financing by businesses, and promote greater trade and economic links between China and the region, paving the way for better financial cooperation and enhancing the preeminence of Qatar as the financial hub in MENA.”

Mr. Jiang Jianquing, Chairman, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, said: “The first RMB clearing centre in the region will open further the gateway and opportunities for trade between China and the Middle East and Africa. Looking to the future, it will improve the ease of transactions between companies in the region and China by allowing them to settle their trade directly in RMB, drawing increased trade through Qatar and boosting bilateral and economic collaborations between Qatar and China.”

Trade between China and Qatar tripled during the period of 2008 – 2013 to approximately US $11.5 billion and it is now estimated that there are 13 Chinese companies operating in the country with a further 181 joint ventures with Qatari partners.