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Qatar Financial Centre to ease foreign investment rules

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) will simplify procedures for foreign investors and give them more access to the local market through a new law to be passed in 2016, Reuters said13 Nov 2015

Yousuf al-Jaida, the centre's chief executive told reporters that a new QFC law "will be given birth to in the first quarter of next year. The new law addresses access to the market", Reuters said.

Located in Doha, the centre has its own legal and tax infrastructure which allows 100% foreign ownership and repatriation of profits.

The new law will help companies to list shares in Qatar, give more access to bond issues and ease other financial transactions, Jaida told Reuters.

"If a company has a dispute, which law applies, Arabic law or English company law? If you go to the state they say state laws apply, if you go to QFC they say QFC laws apply. This has to be addressed. Hopefully this will solve the entire issue of contradictions. If we want more direct investment and better stability, we're going to need to do this as soon as possible to allow freedom of movement, greater freedom of investment in the country,"Jaida said.

The QFC has licensed 62 companies this year, a 35% increase in the number of licensed firms, Jaida told Reuters.

Low oil prices have increased Qatar's efforts to expand other sectors, which has been to the benefit of the QFC, Jaida said.

"There's a phrase in Arabic, 'one person's calamity is another person's benefit'. To be honest, it's been beneficial, because we have a lot more support from the government to go ahead and attract international companies. In the past there's always been some resistance from the local community - today the entire government supports us and our mandate is more meaningful," he said, according to Reuters.