By Sahar ElKabbash
On Friday, June 5th, Qatar obtained the approval of the Global System of Standards: GS1, by unanimous vote to establish its first barcode office for Qatari products thanks to the work of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and Qatar Development Bank.
The ministry posted a statement on Twitter announcing that the code 630 has been designated to mark all products made in domestically, allowing for Qatari produce to be easily identified in stores across the country, but more importantly enabling local manufacturers to export globally.
Why should you care?
This means that Qatar will be able to export its own products. Qatar’s economy is built on its abundance of natural resources particularly gas, and while Doha long depended on importing essential goods, the way in which Qatar overcame the blockade proved the country’s capability of self-sufficiency and local manufacturing. In the fields of agriculture, medicine and construction, high-quality, and affordable products are now being made here in Qatar.
Now with an internationally recognised and registered barcode, this can be a significant step in the path to economic diversification; whereby non-oil and gas exports can increase and start generating income.
Secondly, agency standards would be kept, ensuring that domestically manufactured products maintain the highest internationally recognised standards. Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, the Minister of Commerce and Industry commented that this achievement reflects the ability of the private sector to compete globally.
One niche that Qatari products can compete in is the organic foods market, often overpriced in countries where agricultural produce is usually genetically farmed en masse. The fact that many of the farms in Qatar are organic and their production is subsidised means that their yields could be sold abroad at high profit margins.
Speaking at the announcement, Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, CEO of Qatar Development Bank, said that the establishment of the GS1 approved barcode office for Qatari products will facilitate the process of tracking these products and is a milestone in the development of the local industry as well as a step towards reaching the global.
Do you think it’s only a matter of time before you start seeing some Qatari products on supermarket shelves abroad?