The new draft law on organising foreign investment aims to attract foreign capital by 100% in all economic and commercial activities and sectors, thus helping foreign capital inflow which will push forward the country's economic development.
This was stated by HE the Minister of Economy and Commerce, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani. He said the draft law, approved by the Council of Ministers at its first regular meeting of 2018, has been implemented in accordance with the directives of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
The minister stressed that the new law contributes to raising the index of confidence and investment security in the country, based on the strength of government spending to localise foreign investments, increase tax revenues, as well as protect foreign and local investors from the risks of side agreements, reduce trade concealment and raise Qatar's position in global economic indicators like the indicator of ease of doing business.
The draft law was prepared by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce after examining the best international and regional practices in this regard.
The draft law defines in its first article foreign investors and non-Qatari capital, as specified in Articles 2 to 8, which allow investment in all sectors of the economy.
It also allows non-Qatari investors to invest in the fields of (banks and insurance companies by a decision of the Council of Ministers, and prohibits them from investing in commercial agencies and buying real estate. Foreign investors may invest in any other areas allowed by a decision of the Council of Ministers).
The draft law obligates non-Qatari companies that implement business contracts in the country to follow several regulations, including meeting all requirements of government agencies.
The draft law articles 9 to 17 referred to the following investment incentives:
*The allocation of a land to the non-Qatari investor for the establishment of his investment project by way of use or rent, in accordance with the legislation in force in this regard.
*The non-Qatari investor may import for his investment project what he needs in establishing, operating or expanding the project in accordance with the legislations in force in this regard.
*Non-Qatari investment projects may be exempted from income tax in accordance with the procedures stipulated in the Income Tax Law.
*Non-Qatari investment projects shall be exempted from customs duties on their imports of machinery and equipment necessary for their establishment.
*Non-Qatari investment projects in the field of industry shall be exempt from customs duties on their imports of raw materials and semi-finished materials for production which are not available in local markets.
*The Council of Ministers may, upon a proposal of the minister, grant investment projects incentives and benefits, in addition to what is provided for in this law.
*Non-Qatari investments are not subject, whether directly or indirectly, for expropriation or other similar action if they are for public benefit and a fair and appropriate compensation shall be implemented in accordance with the same procedures as for Qataris.
*Non-Qatari investor shall be free to transfer his investments to and from abroad without delay.
These transfers include the proceeds of the sale or liquidation of all or some of his investments, the proceeds of the settlement of the investment disputes, and any compensation due to him.
*Non-Qatari investor may transfer the ownership of his investment to any other investor or abandon it to his national partner.
This is should be done in accordance with the legislations in force.
The investment shall continue according to the provisions of this law.
*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 also sets general provisions through Articles 18 and 19: the non-Qatari investor's obligation to preserve the safety of the environment from pollution in compliance with laws, regulations and instructions relating to security and public health and not interfering with the public order or public morals.
The law stipulates that the provisions of this law shall not apply to companies and individuals to whom the State grants them the extraction, exploitation or management of natural resources under a concession or special agreement, to the extent that it does not conflict with the provisions of the concession contract or the special agreement.
The provisions of the law do not apply to companies established by the government or to which it contributes and other public institutions and corporations and companies in which the State contributes at least 51% or less, unless there is an approval of the Council of Ministers, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Commercial Companies Law.
The provisions of the law also do not apply to companies and individuals licensed by Qatar Petroleum to carry out any petroleum operations or to invest in the oil and gas sector, petrochemical industries.
This law is an implementation of the directives of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, at the opening of the 46th session of the Advisory Council, to complete the necessary legislation and decrees to facilitate investment.