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Merkel urges Qatar to ensure fair tenders for World Cup projects

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at the EU council headquarters for an European Union leaders summit discussing the European Union
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at the EU council headquarters for an European Union leaders summit discussing the European Union

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Qatar on Monday to ensure a reliable legal framework for companies bidding for the multi-million dollar infrastructure projects in the tiny gulf state for the 2022 soccer World Cup.

"For the engagement of German companies in Qatar, it is very important that tender procedures are fair and transparent and the legal framework is reliable," Merkel told a Qatari business and investment conference in Berlin.

Infrastructure spending in Qatar will average over 10 percent of gross domestic product ahead of the World Cup, with activity in the construction sector likely to peak around 2015, its state planning authority has said.

The Qatari government has allocated 40 percent of its budget between now and 2016 to fund a string of mega-projects, including $5.5 billion for a deepwater seaport, $20 billion for roads and a $17.5 billion new airport.

Ibrahim al Ibrahim, economic adviser to the emir of Qatar, said the country hoped to benefit from the know-how of Germany's industrial sector as it developed its economy.

Merkel said Europe's largest economy in turn was increasingly getting energy from Qatar, which is the world's top exporter of liquefied natural gas.

"Renewables are gaining in importance but also gas is obviously low in CO2 emissions and very much a future-oriented source of energy," Merkel said.

(Reporting By Sarah Marsh; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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