By Tom Finn
DOHA, Dec 13 – The head of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has told U.S. officials it will invest $10 billion in infrastructure projects inside the United States, sources said, in an apparent boost to the economic plans of president-elect Donald Trump.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani, chief executive of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), delivered the message to officials including Charles Rivkin, U.S. assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, in Doha on Monday, a Qatari official and another source close to the QIA told Reuters.
No time frame was given for the investment. Both the QIA, one of the world’s largest sovereign funds, and a spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Qatar declined to comment.
The QIA had previously said it intended to invest $35 billion in unspecified projects in the United States between 2016 and 2021, and it was not clear if the $10 billion would form part of that larger amount, the official said.
Trump has said his economic plans include a major boost to infrastructure investment. In one of the presidential debates against Hillary Clinton, Trump contrasted the gleaming airports of Qatar and Dubai with more shabby U.S. facilities such as LaGuardia and Newark.
The investment by Qatar, which hosts the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East, could help to cement ties with the Trump administration at a time of uncertainty in the Gulf, where Arab states fear any retreat of U.S. power could benefit regional foe Iran.
Trump has signalled he may halt U.S. support to Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad. Qatar, along with Saudi Arabia, has been among the top backers of the rebels.