Posted on January 05, 2018

A draft law aiming to attract foreign capital and investments was approved by the Cabinet in its regular meeting chaired by the Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani. The draft law which is set to replace Law No. 13 of 2000 on the same issue regulating non-Qatari investments in the economy and the Cabinet has agreed to refer it to the Advisory Council. 

The draft law was submitted by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce on regulating the investment of non-Qatari capital in economic activity. The draft law defines in its first Article foreign investors and non-Qatari capital. The draft law allows non-Qataris to invest in the fields of banks and insurance companies upon approval from the Cabinet while prohibiting them from investing in commercial agencies and buying real estate. The draft law also indicated that non-Qataris can also invest in any other fields in accordance to a decision from the Cabinet in this regard.

According to the draft law, non-Qatari companies engaged in implementation of business contracts in the country have been obligated with several requirements, including meeting all requirements of government entities. The draft law regulating foreign investment came in line with the directives of Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to attract foreign capital by 100% in all activities and economic and commercial sectors, said the Minister of Economy H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, while commenting on the draft law. 

The Ministry of Economy and Commerce prepared the draft law in line with the best international and regional practices in this regard to encourage flow of foreign capital and drive the pace of economic development, and raise the index of confidence and security of investment in the country. The draft law on the regulation of foreign investment offers many investment incentives including allocation of land to non-Qatari investors to establish investment through the use or rent in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations.

The non-Qatari investors can import what he/she needs for the investment, in addition to exempting the project from income tax in accordance with the procedures and regulation stipulated in the Income Tax Law. Moreover, the draft law stipulated that the non-Qatari investment projects shall be exempted from customs duties on their imports of machinery and necessary equipment they import for their establishments. In the field of industry, raw materials and semi-manufactured items for production which are not available in the local markets will be exempted from custom duties on their imports.

The draft law mentioned that the cabinet may, upon the proposal of the Minister of Economy and Commerce, grant investment projects incentives and benefits in addition to what have been provided by this law. Non-Qatari investments, whether directly or indirectly, will not be subject to expropriation or other similar action unless it is taken for public benefit where then fair and appropriate compensation in accordance rules and procedures. Non-Qatari investors are free to transfer their investments to Qatar or abroad without delay, as well to transfer the ownership. 

The draft law stipulated that with the exception of labour disputes, a non-Qatari investor may agree on any dispute between him and third parties through arbitration or any other means of settlement of disputes. The draft law defines general provisions which obligate non-Qatari investors to protect environment from pollution and compliance with laws, regulations and instructions relating to security and public health.

source: The Peninsula