El Salvador’s Recent Breakthroughs in Qatar

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El Salvador stands out at the conference. (Image Credit: Diario El Salvador)

After its performance on last year’s edition of AgriteQ, an agricultural fest on Qatar, El Salvador highlighted its efforts for the commercial development of the agricultural sector exports, totaling around to 845 million dollars according to official records. Furthermore, the country emphasized to Qatar its opportunities for potential products and exchange in the branch. However, economical exchange was not the only theme covered in their series of agreements in September that year. National authorities publicly shared that the agreement also involved the exchange of fiscal information. Without a public copy of the document, it hasn’t been stated the type or size of information that will be exchanged between the two countries.

From two years ago, El Salvador has constantly collaborated with Qatar with a focus on health, cultural, sports and economical exchanges. This included building a strong diplomatic relationship, such as naming Qatar’s Ambassador to El Salvador as a Noble Friend of the government. However, last year’s agreement is the first time information regarding security matters are formally discussed.

According to the latest Global Forum on Fiscal Information Exchange Transparency, Qatar has shared more fiscal information in the latest years both locally and internationally: increasing ~6.57% each year the number of associates the information is sent.

Qatar as one of the participant countries in the agreement of Mutual Administrative Assistance in Fiscal Assistance, held through the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), sets OECD commitments as a possible cause behind their legal professional expertise sharing with El Salvador.

It’s important to note that Qatar strengthen its judicial system and cooperations of fiscal information from the World Cup. The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and private-sector security community, continuously exchanged information throughout the event: daily security reports, street crimes, cyber crimes to roadblocks.

Over United Nations July 20th 2023 New Agenda for Peace, Qatar proposed Cybersecurity and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as the first two areas of potential issue or conflict in its submission. This followed the Qatar Information Exchange initiative held by their Planning and Statistics Authority as part of Qatar National Vision 2030 Objectives, which seeks for complete monitoring data and technological architecture in compliance with national and international information for the security and planning of Qatar. This Information Exchange project seeks to create a live platform for Qatar’s decision-makers and authorities.

This information that ranges from administrative, economical, security data and that makes use of external sources, will also be part of Qatar’s Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures. According to their May 2023 report by their Financial Action Task Force (FATF) government body, information exchange with international authorities for policymaking is a priority duty at their two main coordinating institutions to preserve security: the National Counterterrorism Committee, and the National Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Committee.

While economic exchange cannot be discounted, the absence of a public copy of the agreement and Qatar’s recent security-oriented initiatives we should consider the possibility that fiscal information exchange with El Salvador serves, at least partially, mainly as a proposal for Qatar’s internal and external security initiatives. Whether this exchange solely prioritizes economic transparency or has deeper security implications, Qatar’s recent efforts on data control suggest the latter a possibility to prevent security conflicts trought 2023 National Vision objectives and FAFT frameworks.

Written by Emily Ulloa

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