Posted on April 23, 2013

As Qatar and the UAE strive to improve their rankings in international ease of doing business reports, a screening process for facilitators of company incorporation services could significantly reduce the time it takes for foreign companies to enter the market, says The Links Group.

Speaking from the side lines of the World Chamber’s Congress, being held in Doha this week, the Middle East’s award-winning company formation specialist believes benchmarking local service providers could help allay foreign companies’ concerns over perceived inefficiencies and opacity in the system.

“Qatar and the UAE have done an incredible job at attracting and supporting inbound and outbound trade and investment, but the rapid rate of growth has outpaced the progress of regulation and administrative systems,” said John Martin St. Valery, Founding Partner and CEO, The Links Group.

John Martin St. Valery

“There are myriad service providers helping to establish foreign companies in these markets, but in our experience, too many exploit what is an evolving process to create overly dependent client relationships. This short-sightedness and lack of transparency causes confusion and is a deterrent for foreign companies wanting to set up their businesses here,” he added.

According to The Links Group, other factors foreign companies attribute to their risk-averse views of Qatar and the UAE include: the absence of a centralised statistics bureau, which makes feasibility and business planning difficult;  uncertainty over selecting the right local partner; and poor access to local finance.

The Links Group says recent government initiatives are certainly helping to address some of these concerns with E-services making company formation in Qatar and the UAE more efficient, dedicated agencies like Enterprise Qatar and Dubai SME fostering innovation and SME growth, and Free Zones eliminating the need for a local partner. 

However, The Links Group maintains injecting some quality assurance into the local company formation sector will help inspire more confidence among foreign companies as they navigate the markets’ fragmented company incorporation procedures. 

“At The Links Group our corporate nominee partnership approach and fastidious self-regulation have seen us become a preferred partner of Dubai FDI and several chambers of commerce around the world. But too often we find our efforts, and those of our colleagues, mired by a lack of standards in our sector.

“It is our view that a professional code of conduct or some kind of benchmarking system for company service providers in Qatar and the UAE could contribute to the improvement of trade and investment flows for the two countries,” said Martin St. Valery. 

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